Indian Olympic Athletes – Statue or Pigeon?

31 July 2013

fb_logo_closeIndian Olympic athletes are sometimes the pigeon, but mostly the statue.

The pigeon – when they are gliding through the fleeting cloud of glory and fame after having attained success at certain international tournaments. The statue – when they are pooped on by the impregnable success of the celestial Indian cricketers and federation officials who look to grab every photon of the athlete’s limelight.

Our cricketers are champions of the world and they deserve every bit of their success. But what we often overlook is that our aspiring Olympians too are champions in their own right. They come from nothing in an attempt to make something of themselves. Our boxers practice on crowded maidaans with a makeshift punching bags hung from tree-tops. The training regimen of our athletes often begins at infancy when they have trek their way up distances ranging from 10-20 kilometres from their home to their school in remote villages of secluded areas for lack of a better option. These very athletes spend most of their time on the field as it is their salvation from a life of debilitating poverty and more often than not – a violent upbringing.

When they do overcome these initial obstacles and achieve the first stage of success, new ones arise. Some are given banned substances by negligent coaches for short-term gain. Ages are fudged, government funds are siphoned off and as a result, corruption rears its ugly head. Our national athletes have ‘chivda’ for breakfast, there is not enough money to hire a support staff and for any sort of international exposure there is no transport available.

‘Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith’. Margaret Shepard’s wise words are apt in the case of our athletes.

That is where Anglian comes in. When this harsh world is trying to squash their ambitions, we want to awaken their dreaming spirits. We want to salute them for their bravery because it takes real courage to step into the unknown. This is the stuff that champions are made of. They are all of a different fibre. When the pressure of failing is immense we want to reduce their burden. When the expectations of them are superhuman, we want to give them a strong sense of humanity. In the Olympics there are no individual sports. We must work as a team to bring back a gold or even two. And when we achieve our target we will showcase our athletes for the heroes that they are and give them the recognition they deserve. Everyone likes a little acknowledgement.

They may still be statues. But their statues will be a symbol of greatness, sculpted to be an icon of inspiration for the young bunch of aspiring Olympians that dare to dream. And Anglian will be right there to guide them every step of the way.