Saturday 23 October 2010

Dawn of New Sporting India - A reflection on Commonwealth Games

We are done with the XIX Commonwealth Games and as a 11 day event and having involved personally in few of the projects, I can say, we as a nation and sports fraternity managed to pull it off amid a lot of allegations and corruption.

I have my views on our shortcomings and how one can improve and the sort of benchmark which the Indian sports fraternity has built. Asian Games 1982 certainly was a landmark event to India just like the 1950 inaugural Asian Games. But India, in general of the 50's and 80's looks alienated in some way to the present day India. I can even go on to say, media industry has grown from the time we were successfully awarded the games way back in 2003. The entire media trail being conducted currently deserves some merit, but it is merely highlighting the problem which is prevailing in all the sectors of business across India and in the world. It has so far not put the facts in the right place and has failed to present the total picture to our public. In short, it is strong facts mis-interpreted here and there to make it a sensation.

India is an emerging market globally and unlike London, host city of Olympics 2012 and Glasgow, host city of Commonwealth Games 2014, we never faced the crisis regarding budget. While the talks of cost cuttings are on across the British Isles, we always managed to escalate the costs. We are a force to reckon, by the looks of it. In short, India and in particular Delhi, the capital city managed to host the games and the event in general was a success. I would say best ever games Indians could have managed with the present reality and problems that prevailed. I have removed the idealism from the above assessment and have based my opinion of where we stand in practical terms.

From my personal experience as a sports enthusiast, I can safely say, India as a nation is more interested to know the extremities of winning and losing. It gives us a sense of pride to know whenever we win and a dramatic tragedy if we lose. But very quickly, reality bites. It gives us a sense of belonging, but the effect does not last long. We, as citizens have other issues to deal in our personal lives and as a country we have multitude of problems to resist and overcome. In a long time, Sports caught the attention and never one knew sports, with the exception of cricket are funded heavily by the Government and not through private funds.

As a citizen, I might be made to believe by the media reports about us being a long way short of achieving perfection in holding an event. But, to me the real assessment was our past record. After all, we are just the second Asian country after Malaysia in 1998 to host the Commonwealth Games since its inception way back in 1930.

Indian athletes have won the hearts of the entire public and in the end; the games are made for the sake of athletes. It is their stage to showcase their prowess in their respective disciplines. This was and still remains the definition of Sports to many of us in India. But sadly, the business which should have remained back of house of any event came to the fore and hogged the limelight, outshone the athletes and even threatened to hold the games without the athletes. But it didn't, and this was possible through few people, who really worked hard to make this event happen and they deserve a lot of credit. These are the people who managed to shed their egos and dedicated themselves to a cause.

The event in Delhi opened up the Pandora's Box to even the organisers about building the stage so that athletes can just focus on performance. It is this building of the stage, we failed.
In Delhi, we were presented with the opportunity for a lot of work forces to be aware and get the knowledge of various disciplines involved in making a Sports event successful.
Co-ordination between various committees and parties involved was appalling. Live wire can never be live, unless it has a good connection. This event gave us the need of having a good connection. Failure of administration, Failure due to lack of sports culture (except cricket) and in short, the organising committee was a collective failure. It is the foundation which is important to wither storms and other uncertainties.

"Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success." - Denis Waitley

In the end, it was just Commonwealth Games and it is not to be confused with Asian Games or Olympics, which has wider audience and more disciplines of sports in them.

Commonwealth Games Federation can look to benefit from the media attention they got from Delhi. It is a start in many ways for Commonwealth Games Federation to market their position better now that people from various parts of the world are aware of such an event. Frankly, Commonwealth Games was never such a big event in the Sporting World. India, in its own ways, with the problems we had, managed to make it look really big infact made it look like a Mega Event.

I would say with the kind of lessons we have managed to gather; all we (Indian sporting fraternity) need is introspection, direction, application and dedication. I am confident, although I do not have the right statistics to back me at this point, we have only to rise and I do not see us falling in the future. Every milestone moving forward will be looked upon as a benchmark. India is diverse and all the countries in many aspects are not like us.

Why don't we compete with our past to become better instead of competing with rest of the world? Instead of being in the rat race, why don't we run our own race? and be good at it each time. 


  1. i hope what u write is true.i saw the games and loved what it showed me and also the way the indian atheletes performed. but i also deeply despise the way suresh kalmadi has functioned till date. it's high time he resigns or is kicked out. anyhow i do agree that the games were a huge success..!!

  2. Good one Rajan...But I still go by my point saying that CWG did not bring anything to India as a nation except for the Athletes. It would have been better if we had used the money elsewhere.

  3. Nice going Rajan, What i like to see more is how well did the coordination effort happen ( i e like communication between various events ,Accountability in decision making, Indians are not exactly are know for this and since this involves Gov members ) since you were closely associated with it.
    PS:I still think Beijing Opening ceremony was better than Delhi one , i know many Indians think otherwise.

  4. very well written Rajan! I was in Delhi around the CWG and would like to commend on the change in Delhi since I visited last which was a couple years back! The best part was the CWG lane and the fact that people did follow the rule of not riding on it..this is a big deal in itself or shall I say the 2000 figure burnt holes in quite a few pockets...nevertheless, good job!