Grappler Sushil Kumar’s back-to-back medals at the Olympic Games-the first Indian sportsman to do so-enabled India to register its presence in a big way. It is India’s best performance at the Olympic Games. Sushil Kumar won silver medal in the 66kg free style category. He had won bronze in the previous Olympics held in China. However, one cannot ignore the recent spate of controversies which marred the London Olympics 2012. These infamous episodes have brutally hurt the sentiments of sports fans across the globe. The allegations related to biased decisions of referees have given a bad name to the 30th Olympic Games. Let’s not treat these allegations as shallow outbursts of teams lost. We need to take note of them in a serious manner in order to retain the faith of sports lovers.
Let’s not forget India’s boxer Vikas Krishan controversial defeat at the hands of Errol Spence of USA.The AIBA overturned the result of his pre-quarterfinal bout, after five hours, following a review. The Indian contingent filed an appeal which produced no result. The IOA tried its best to drive home its point but the the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) rejected the country’s appeal.”There is no provision in the AIBA Technical and Competition Rules allowing for an appeal against the decision of the Competition Jury in relation to a Protest. The decision of the Competition Jury is final and cannot be appealed.”(CAS). In this regard, the argument of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) vice-President Tarlochan Singh is worth mentioning:”There are four different judges and they make their separate decisions. It is baffling why did none of them objected to this. Four people have given verdicts and it is wrong for USA to appeal after the decision has been given.”
Such biased decisions lower the morale of players and sports fans. The game is not on par with life and death issue, and, therefore, it’s quite baffling to see big nations using every trick in the book to emerge as winner. It doesn’t matter to them if such a victory makes mockery of fair play. Such brazen display of unfair tendencies, all in the names of rules, brings into open the real character of such nations, who can go to any extent to gain an upper hand. The Indian contingent needs to view such murkier developments from fresh angle and come to understand that world of sports are not only regulated by excellence but also by shrewd maneuvers. It’s anybody’s guess that sports fans treat such sponsored victories less honourable than defeats keeping intact values associated with the game! The Indians need to grasp this fact that for some nations, the thing called dignity in defeat just doesn’t exist.
If that was not enough Amit Kumar’s defeat in 55 kg freestyle repachage against Bulgarian Radoslav Marinov Velikov gave rise to another controversy. Former Gold Medalist at Asian Games Satpal Singh, in an interview given to BBC, said that ‘ referees have turned highly professional. After watching the proceedings at the Games, I am pretty convinced that these referees have compromised with the values. You now cannot win the game without taking into confidence judges and referees involved with the game! The three points awarded to Bulgarian opponent, in actuality, belonged to the Indian wrestler Amit Kumar. These three points made the game slip away from the hands of Amit Kumar.”
It’s not only Indian contingent, which is feeling blue after the Games got over. Usain Bolt, who became the first athlete to win the 200 twice at the Olympics, harshly criticized Carl Lewis of United States for his doping remarks. At a press conference organized just after his historic victory in the men’s 200-metre, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt minced no words in targeting Carl Lewis., ” I’m going to say something controversial right now…. Carl Lewis, I have no respect for him…. The things he says about the track athletes is really downgrading for another athlete to say something like that. I think he’s just looking for attention, really, because nobody really talks much about him” Bolt said. One needs to recall the words of Carl Lewis to realize that Bolt’s anger is justified.”Countries like Jamaica do not have a random program, so they can go months without being tested. I’m not saying anyone is on anything, but everyone needs to be on a level playing field.” Carl Lewis made this remark in an interview given to Sports Illustrated just after Bolt’s stunning performance in Beijing Olympics.
Now this battle of words might not be directly related to the controversies that marred the London Olympics 2012 but the timing of Bolt’s furious remarks is amazing. It provides clear insight about the affairs that take place behind the scene, which ordinarily remain hidden from the eyes of average sports fans. It makes it evidently clear that how bigger nations come to treat the victories of smaller nations. And if that becomes clear, it would not be pretty difficult to understand that India’s strong protest against the biased referees at the Olympics is not simply unleashing of frustration. It reveals that games have no longer remained events, solely dominated by the performance of committed athletes, trying to attain height of excellence. They are now dominated by forces beyond the control of players. India’s protest needs to be seen in the same perspective.