10 Reasons Why India is Miserable at World Sports

Is the definition of  Indian sports restricted to cricket only or do other games exist too?

Yesterday I met Sanjay, who would represent India in the Asian Games to be held this year. He has previously participated in various Judo competitions worldwide.

Sanjay (24) is a resident of Manipur and is currently employed in  the Indian Military Police. He is amongst some fortunate players who have been sponsored by the Military police. His training, equipment, coach fee,  travel and registration costs are government funded.

But there are very few players who receive such benefits. During our discussion I realized that there are various reasons which contribute to the unsatisfactory performance of Indians in international sports.

1. Too much Importance to Cricket :-

Cricket has been given outmost importance in India.  Games like hockey and Tennis have also gained popularity in the past but sports like judo, karate, rugby, football and squash are generally ignored by the masses.

2. Societal Pressure:-

Sports is thought to be a leisure activity in the country. Sports as a profession is largely condemned. The people prefer traditional careers over sports. Education is considered a pre-requisite to attain success. Sports is barely given any importance in schools. The players have to struggle between their rigorous practice schedule and school timings. They often have to choose between education or sports and the former wins almost every time.

3. Lack of Remuneration

Life of a sportsmen is considered  more of a struggle and less of an achievement. The profession guarantees financial safety only for those who are famous; the ones who are still struggling to establish their identity are hardly given any remuneration. Most of the potential sport-persons experience disillusionment and stress from the very beginning of their career and usually end up sacrificing their dreams.

4. Costs

The costs of  equipments and other facilities are very high. For example: most of the protein supplements are imported from Europe. A small  bottle of protein costs about Rs. 4,000 in India but the same bottle is considerably cheap for the European players in their currency.

5. Foreign Coaches:-

There is a dearth of competent coaches in India. Thus, a player has to rely on foreign coaches for assistance and training. The fees and expenses to hire a foreign coach cannot be easily met by an individual. Hence, most of the times the players have to make a compromise. Either they are given incompetent coaches or no coaches at all.

6. Travel Costs:-

Due to lack of funds Indian players are send only to selected competitions. India remains unrepresented in most of the competitions. The  players are  unable to afford the huge travel and registration costs and hence it is on the discretion of the government to decide whether India would be represented in a competition or not .

7.  Sponsorship:-

The multinationals and private companies are uninterested in sponsoring a game which people barely watch. Due to lack of private funding the  players have to completely rely on the government  funds.

8. Balancing Job and Sports

Sanjay has a rigorous practice schedule  from 6 am to 8 pm. Fortunately, the Military Police encourages him to follow his dreams. Not all employers provide their employees with funds, job salary and a healthy work atmosphere. It is almost impossible for players to  strike a balance between their jobs and sports.

9. Politics:-

Politics has dominated almost all spheres of Indian sports. Discrimination on basis of Regionalism at the time of selection is prevalent in all sports including cricket. Other factors like political recommendations and corruption have also affected the selection procedure adversely.

10. No Pension:-

A player is usually active till the age of 35 years. Most of the players  retire with no substantial achievements, education and financial security.  If they still wish to be connected with the profession; the only option available is to coach students and youngsters for meager amounts.

What needs to be done?

Nothing would change until we change our attitude. These games will attract sponsorship and private funding only when the people start appreciating them. Transparency must be brought in the selection procedure. Government may provide deserving players with more jobs and remuneration.

The educational institutions must also encourage the students to excel in sports and not only in academics.There are very few universities which provide for sports quota in higher eduction. Similar reservations must be made in other universities too. A change needs to be brought at every stage; if we expect India to perform well at the International level.

A player sacrifices a lot for his game. His spirit and dedication needs to be respected and not ignored by the nation.

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The Legal Controversy surrounding Sania-Shoaib’s marriage

The Controversy

When the two sports stars (Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik) would tie the knot, it is believed that the two countries India and Pakistan would also share a common-bond. But the marriage between the Indian tennis star and former Pakistani Cricket Captain, scheduled on April 15, 2010 has already witnessed a lot of controversies. After Shiv Sena’s threat to Sania and her family with the performance of marriage. It is now alleged that the prospective groom, Shoaib Malik has been already married to Ayesha Siddhiqui alias Maha Siddhiqui since June, 2002.

Mohammed Siddiqui, the father of Ayesha has already lodged a complaint against Shoaib Malik in Hyderabad under Sections 420 (cheating), 498-A (dowry harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation). On the other hand Malik and his family have denied the subsistence of any such marriage.

Two sides of the same story

In their interviews, Malik and Ayesha have presented different versions of the story. Shoaib Malik contends that he had never met Ayesha in person before the alleged marriage took place. Maha, had send him the photographs of some other woman who he presumed to be Ayesha. He was deceived by her and at a tender age of 20. When he figured out the fraud in 2005 he immediately broke all his associations with Ayesha.

He said,” I walked out of my house one morning in June 2002, and went to my friend’s shop and called from there. I got a nikahnama, signed it, thinking the girl I was marrying was the one in the photographs.

In Muslim law, this arrangement doesn’t work no matter what paper may or may not be there simply because, when the proposal was made, the image in my head was the girl in the photographs, but the girl, who was accepting the proposal was someone else. That’s cheating.”

Whereas Ayesha said that they had met in Dubai in 2000 and were in constant touch since then. The internet facilities were unavailable that time and therefore there was no question only exchanging photographs. She further said that Malik was disappointed with her being fat and thus avoided her company at public functions. The growing popularity of Malik amongst the girls led to a drift between the two. She proclaimed that a telephonic marriage in Islam was perfectly legal and valid according to the sharia. Ayesha’s family has also released a the nikahnama in public.

Main Elements of a Muslim Marriage :-

1- Free Consent of the Parties

2- Payment of dower

3- Witnesses

4- May be terminated by either of the parties any time

A telephonic marriage in Sharia is valid if witnesses are present from both the sides. In the present case, the marriage claim by the Siddhiqui’s is dubious until and unless, the witnesses from both the sides are produced. Moreover, Shoaib’s argues that the consent given by him was under the misconception that the girl he is marrying was the one in the photographs and not Maha Siddhiqui, further weakens the case. As in a Muslim marriage, free consent of the parties is a pre-requisite.

Under the Indian Muslim Act, a Muslim male can enter a second marriage while the first marriage is already subsisting. Thus, Siddhiqui would not be able to prevent Sania and Shoaib’s marriages even if the alleged marriage is legally valid.

If tried under the Indian Laws the cricketer can be punished with both imprisonment and fine. The contradictory statements issued by the cricketer time and again have also diluted the veracity of his claims. If Ayesha’s claims are valid then the victim has been harassed by her celebrity husband. Calling a wife fat or public harassment amounts to mental cruelty under the Indian Law. It would be to early to jump into any conclusions as of now, I think the truth will reveal itself in due course of time.

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Performance Enhancers can be Reputation Damagers – Increasing Doping Scenario in Sports

Today 13 out of the 29 probable Kabbadi players for the World Cup Kabbadi Punjab 2010 were tested positive of doping. The incidence once again proved that sports and drugs have a close nexus with one another. The issue of performance enhancing drugs has remained contentious throughout the globe. The primary rational behind prohibiting use of drugs is in sports was to prevent any deterioration of health. However the emphasis had later shifted to fair competition and professional ethics. The prohibition is mainly supported on two grounds i.e. moral and physical.

The doping test is conducted by detecting the presences of banned substance in the urine samples of the competitors. But it is argued that the dope test faces difficulties due to various reasons:

1. Substances like Human Growth Hormone (H.G.H) or erythropoetin (E.P.O) are also naturally produced by the Human Body. Hence even if the presence of these hormones is established it is very difficult to detect that the same were administered unnaturally.

2. The athletes usually switch drugs or consume unbanned drugs or even take help of masking agents to deceive doping tests.

3. Domestic Legislation and laws of various countries have proved contrary to the decisions of pioneer sports authorities like IOC, International Amateur Athletic Federation (I.A.A.F) and Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

4. The credibility of testing agencies has been questioned time and again.

5. The inefficiency of developing countries to have expensive testing regimes.

Categorization of Drugs

There are two types of drugs: the prescribed and the proscribed. The former being legal whereas the latter being illegal. Prescribed Drugs are not considered bad as they are taken under medical supervision and are less detrimental to health. On the other hand the banned drugs contain high health risks. However it is argued that many prescribed drugs may lead to cardiac problems, convulsions or even death in certain cases. They may have fatal consequences in the long term. It is observed that addiction may result if these drugs not carefully administered.

Criticism

It is contended worldwide that over dose of any drug (including caffeine) may cause hazardous health consequences. Thus there must be a clear distinction between “medical treatment” and “medical abuse”. If it is possible to enhance the performance of an athlete by controlled administration of certain harmless or less harmful drugs it would definitely not amount to abuse but medication. Studies have demonstrated that medically controlled drug program would create a balance between health and sports. It would not only decrease the side-effects of steroids but would also enhance the performance of players. Moreover many people argue that Performance Enabling Drugs must be legalized as Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), which facilitates early healing in athletes.

Most of the athletes consume high dosages of highly refined dietary aids, vitamin and carbohydrate supplements which may cause substantial harm. The safe use of performance enabling drugs is essential. It must not be detrimental to the health of the competitor. As mentioned before the credibility of various testing laboratories still remain in question. Another concern in this regard is that status of legality of many drugs varies from one country to another. This definitely hinders the harmonization of rules related to drugs on a global level.

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Mumbai is a Metropolitan, Not a Religious Playground for Politicians – Pakistan IPL Players Controversy and Shah Rukh Khan Comments

My Name Is Khan - Press Conference

Shah Rukh Khan’s support to the Pakistani players in IPL bidding made him face a lot of trouble. He was not only threatened but also targeted by the Shiv Sena. He was alleged to be a traitor and was dared to speak in favour of Pakistani players in future. He stood up for his beliefs and refused to apologize. Fortunately people from Bollywood and elsewhere have now started recognizing their right to speech.

When Shiv Sena recommended Shah Rukh to live in Pakistan instead, this infuriated not only his admirers but also his father who was a freedom fighter and had played an instrumental role in the Quit India Movement. Shah Rukh’s father (Taj Mohammed) was one of the few Muslims who decided to leave Pakistan and settle in India. It is both ironical and shameful that Shiv Sena which had played no role in the Indian Freedom Struggle assumes that it has power to deport citizens of India to some other country.

The question is not on inclusion of players but its on whether an individual has a right to express his opinion or not. Democracy protects this right but may be Shiv Sena fails to recognize the true meaning of democracy. They believe that restricting and instructing people would serve their purposes and goals. They are the Taliban who have not attained absolute power till now. They employ every method to threaten, fright and manipulate people. They are least concerned about the development of the state as if they were they would have been more instrumental in issues that really mattered to the state like conditions of farmers etc. But they waste their energies in deciding which society, festival, group, religion, celebrity and film to target. They wish to seek limelight with everything they can.

Mumbai was not built in a day. The city has contribution from various communities and these communities lived in harmony with one another until such groups infuriated the feelings of hatred amongst them. Isn’t Shiv Sena promoting communal tensions and disturbing peace of the nation. If they have a problem with non-maharashtrians then Ambani’s, Bachchan’s, Birla’s etc would all have to leave the state. Ironically 50% of the economy of the state comes from the non-maharashtrians and if they evacuate the state would be in a huge financial loss.

Historically Maratha’s were not essentially against the Mughals. Instead of looking at the struggle between the two as a Hindu and Muslim fight it should be looked as a battle for power and state power. But Shiv Sena has always projected themselves as the protector of Hinduism and Maratha but they fail to understand that a protector never dictates.

The plight of Maharashtran’s and their unemployment must be definitely taken into considerations. There are various  universities and organizations which ensure that the natives are not deprived of the opportunity to work or study.  Ensuring jobs to Maratha’s is a good gesture but taking away the jobs of Non-Maratha’s is not a solution. India is a culturally diverse and homogeneous society ; demarcating cultural boundaries would not help anyone. Jinnah demanded a land for Muslims and Pakistan was formed. Are we ready to witness the emergence of MARATHASTAN? I’m sure we wont even like to imagine that.

Promoting culture and heritage is one thing and imposing it on others is another. What Shiv Sena is doing is the latter. If I’m forced what to wear, what to watch, what to eat or even what to speak it would only lead to oppression. Mr Thakeray has a right to suggest but he has no right to oppress.

Every individual has a right to decide and it can not be taken away by dogmatic powers like Shiv Sena. Gone are the days when Bihar was only for Bihari’s, Rajasthan only for Rajasthani’s and Maharashtra only for Marathi’s. We are Indian’s and will remain Indian’s no matter what Shiv Sena believes or propagates. Our Constitution has conferred this right upon us and no one can deprive us from the privilege of being a citizen of the country. By weakening the social thread of the country, the Thakeray’s are only helping the terrorists. They may intend to project themselves as protagonists but their actions have benefited only the rivals. Isn’t disturbing national peace a disguised terrorism? The actor is scared about the protection of his family. Isn’t is taking away his right to life and dignity? I think it is.

Before independence if people thought that they have greater loyalty to their regions then to their motherland, it was justified but now we are not just Marathi, Marwari, Gujarati or Sindhi; we are Indians. Our out most loyalty lies with the nation and not just with our region or religion. Let us unite so that no British rule is established again, no Taliban ever dominates us and so that no terrorist can ever take advantage of our internal conflicts. Let’s never destroy our own resources and kill our own people because by this we are proving our loyalty to enemies and not to out motherland.

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