The last 48 hours have caused a great deal of consternation and yet have brought glory for India at the ongoing Incheon Asiad. Though India may be relishing boxer MC Mary Kom’s first Asiad gold, it cannot take its eyes away from the humiliation that another champion boxer, Laishram Sarita Devi had to face in the semi-final bout against South Korea.
If a completely biased result even when Sarita Devi was clearly the better pugilist, wasn’t enough, the manner in which she literally had to beg for US$ 500 from her coach and an Indian journalist for filing a judgement review was a clear indication of how concerned the 163 support staff was. One of India’s brightest medal hopes had been left alone in the boxing arena by three Indian Olympic Association officials including the general secretary and the dpeuty chef-de-mission to wage a lone battle against what appeared as a profoundly prejudiced decision. Media reports later suggested that the three officials left as soon as they saw trouble brewing near the ring. In fact it was the same secretary general, who had caused massive embarrassment almost two months back when he was arrested by the Scotland Yard at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games for drunken driving.
The question is simple: just how much mortification IOA officials are going to cause not only for the Indian athletes but now even for the Indian government which had earmarked quite a few Rs 100-crore projects in the 2014 union budget for sports promotion? Nobody has any clue that when and how is the Indian government going to take suitable action against these forever erring executives who it seems have made it a habit to showcase their complete disregard for national pride when sent on crucial foreign assignments.
Now that disciplinary charges will be initiated against Sarita Devi for refusing the bronze medal at the podium, mustn’t the Indian government initiate an inquiry which would look into the absence of the IOA officials but should debar them from being a part of any sporting contingent in the times to come at least. Sarita Devi’s lost honour might only be reinstated thereafter.