PT Usha has been given the shabbiest of treatments by officials who have never even run up a flight of steps. They did not receive her at the station when she landed in Bhopal with her wards for the 49th National Open Athletics Championships. When she made her way to the venue she was shocked with the sub-standard accommodation offered to her. The 'Sprint Queen' broke down sobbing at the treatment given to her.
"I felt insulted," she sobbed and roundly criticized the Sports Authority of India officials for their apathy.
She then moved into a hotel and a red-faced state government claimed that they had shifted her to a posh hotel. The blame game between Sports Minister MS Gill and the organizers of the event, the state government is now on. Madhya Pradesh Sports Minister Tukoji Rao Pawar regretted the incident and placed the blame at SAI's door.
One channel asked a pertinent question: “If it was a cricketer of any vintage, would he have been given this treatment?”
This is the harsh reality of Indian sports. It is cricket that gets 99% of all the attention. You can jump a hurdle or run a mile, shoot a gun, play snooker and become world champion, you can manage a shuttle so beautifully or bash a squash ball all over the world and win awards and accolades. It is only when you hold a willow or throw a red cherry pitch perfect—never mind that you are only in some vague under something team—that you grab the headlines or get a hero’s welcome.
Commonwealth games or Olymics in India—it is just a pipe dream that materializes in a haze of empty bombast. Until we learn to place the achievers in any field above our politicians who are there because of us and not because of any great achievement on their part, we can count sports medals with the fingers of one hand!