A “maast” nation

After the summer Olympic games debacle, now is the time for yet another enquiry, this time for a serious goof up in Paralympics. Do our officials accompanying national squads ho on foreign jaunts just for “maasti” or do they discharge any duties and responsibilities. Every time athletes complain that officials were conspicuous by their absence at the time of an event or for filing an official protest. The latest incident has taken place in Rio during the ongoing Paralympics.
One of India’s medal prospect in Javelin throw event, Sundar Singh Gurjar, was disqualified for his failure to respond to the pre-event roll call. Able-bodied Sundar Singh Gurjar was a pre-event favourite. However, at the time of the event, while he was inside the stadium, he failed to acknowledge his presence. It is customary, before the start of an event, for every athlete to acknowledge his or her presence by raising his or her hand. Reports suggest that none of the officials accompanying the Indian contingent in Rio was there to alert Sundar Singh Gurjar, who had lost one of his hands in a mishap. Since he did not respond to his roll call he was not only debarred from competing but was also disqualified from the event. Though Devendra Singh Jhajharia won a gold, his second in Paralympics in Javelin throw, yet Sundar episode deprived India of a certain medal. Sundar’s record has been better than that of Devendra Jhajharia. It is not to belittle Devendra’s golden throw, yet Sundar cannot be solely held responsible for his disqualification. Now the Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel says that he has sought a report on the unfortunate incident but does it provide any reprieve to our special athlete who may have brought honours to the country in event of his participation.It is intriguing that we specialise in ordering or holding useless enquiries as nothing substantial has ever come out of any of these enquiries. No heads roll and passing the blame game starts. Other than this sad episode, India has done well so far in Paralympics winning two gold medals, a silver and a bronze. Deepa Malik was the first to win a medal for India. In the shot put, she got a silver. Wife of an Army officer and mother of two, Deepa set the ball rolling. Her medal winning feat was followed by two male jumpers — Thangavelu Mariyappan and Varun Singh Bhati — who ended with a gold and a bronze in high jump event.Then came Devindra Jhajharia’s gold in the javelin throw.