From the Viewsroom

Asian glory

B Baskar | Updated on September 06, 2018 Published on September 06, 2018

Indian athletes excel, while our much-hyped cricketers disappoint

India’s performance at the recently concluded Asian Games at Jakarta was certainly heart-warming. It was in some sense a logical progression from its performance at the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast a few months ago. What was particularly impressive was that India’s 69 medals, which included 15 Golds and 24 Silvers, came from a variety of sporting disciplines ranging from athletics, wrestling, boxing, badminton and squash to Bridge, Sepaktakraw and a little-known martial art called Kurash.

Neeraj Chopra, Jinson Johnson, Manjit Singh and Swapna Barman among others set the track and field alight with their top performances. Chopra’s performance is noteworthy – his gold winning throw of 88.06 metres would have won him a Bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, where Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott threw 85.38 metres for the third spot at the podium. But the most poignant story from the athletics track was that of Dutee Chand. After being banned by the IAAF, the world athletics body, for hyperandrogenism in 2014, Chand fought a long, hard and often lonely battle against the ruling. She appealed to the Court of Arbitration in 2015 which overturned IAAF ban and allowed her to participate. The Odisha government must be lauded for its steadfast support to Chand during her darkest hour. Her twin silver medals in the 100 and 200 metres are just rewards for her courage and resilience. Upcoming star Hima Das’s comments that she was running for timing and not medals shows the faith she has in her ability and talent.

In contrast to our athletes, our much-hyped cricket team is enduring a miserable summer in England. After losing the first two tests Kohli’s men showed admirable spirit by bouncing back in the third test. But losing the fourth test tamely and the series will certainly hurt Kohli and his team. The bowlers have done their best by consistently taking 20 wickets but the much-vaunted batting line-up barring Kohli and Pujara to some extent has failed miserably. Maybe it’s time we cricket-obsessed Indians started taking other sports more seriously and supporting our athletes.

Published on September 06, 2018

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