For the last three months in India, all that the newspapers and people talked about was corruption, lost money, unprepared stadiums, breeding of mosquitoes and everything negative under the sun when it came to the Commonwealth Games. It often made all of us think whether we’d be able to host the Games, which we thought would showcase the pride, the glory, the sheen, the culture and most importantly - the sporting talent of our country.
Alas! As irony would have it, the Games were in news for all the wrong reasons- players started pulling out citing health hazards, officials started crying over unlivable conditions in the Games Village and stray dogs and snakes started grabbing headlines like never before!
With the type of makeover and ‘Tughluqi’ spending the capital saw in the name of Games, officials making claims- “CWG Opening would be bigger than Beijing Olympic opening”, looked more like an all time favourite joke.
SMS insults on Suresh Kalma
di pimped even the CID ones in terms of popularity, writers and intellectuals started talking about boycotting the Games and every status message on Facebook and Twitter looked dedicated to how unprepared we are for the Commonwealth Games.
Clearly, ill-preparation of the Games was the only thing on an Indian’s mind!
But, just like a Bollywood movie or as our Sports Minister puts it - ‘Indian wedding’ - everything came back to normal once the D-Day neared.
India organized one of the grandest opening ceremonies in the history of the sports event and the dazzling show floored all its critics. Not just the local media, but the International media too went ga-ga over the stupendous presentation.
Not sure about familiarity but progress surely breeds contempt and the ‘baap’ of all the ceremonies was a clear message to the developed nations that India had arrived!
The cultural extravaganza swept aside all the shame and a packed Jawaharlal Nehru stadium showed the world that even with too much of criticism around, people of India will not withdraw their support for athletes that have put their heart and soul for the preparation of these Games.
It looked like sportsmen too got inspired from this overwhelming support; and shooters, wrestlers and weightlifters along with other sports stars started hunting Gold like never before.
In just about a week’s time, India has silenced its critics.
The venomous ‘sur’ of the officials has changed, the negative reporting of media has vanished, Facebook and Twitter have again started talking about ‘Incredible India’, people have started talking about non-cricket games and even people like Mike Fennell, who has always been an ardent critic of the Games preparations, have named Games Village as the best ever in the history of Commonwealth Games!
It’s just the nascent phase and India’s unprecedented success in the medals tally early-on is just what the doctor ordered for a spectacular mega-event. Indian athletes have started delivering amidst loads of criticism and less faith.
There is nothing more than a fan’s support which cheers and inspires a sportsman to excel. Agreed, we can’t make amends for the lost time but surely now can back our players with full heart and soul.
Shut the criticism up, cheer for the country!
The time calls for support and not sadistic commentary!
(The views expressed by the author are personal)