Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

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Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby PKBasu » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:00 pm

Let there be no two opinions about this: our performance at the Rio Olympics was a disaster, engineered in many cases by the shenanigans of our sports administrators. Many sticking plasters were applied to deal with the deep wounds some of these maladministrators had already dealt our sports, but they clearly did not work. The end of the Rio Olympics campaign, during which we have plunged from 6 medals in 2012 to just 2 in 2016 (a two-thirds decline), provides an opportunity for deep introspection. I suggest that we use this thread to create a focused petition that we will send to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and perhaps to the Sports ministry, and then start a Twitter feed that will be the basis of follow-up.

I start with the trivial matter that Dutee Chand pointed out -- that athletes travelled economy class to Rio in most cases, while IOA officials and sports administrators travelled business class. This absurd situation is apparently completely normal in our sports set-up. The IOA's current office bearers apparently provided business class tickets to Rio for all potential voters in IOA elections. An RTI petition to check on IOA's finances would be a good place to start, followed by an investigation of the IOA's Sources and Uses of funds in the past 3 months (and then 1 year).

It turns out that the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is Narayana Ramachandran, brother of N Srinivasan, the guy who used to run the BCCI and ICC, but was ousted by the Supreme Court because of his egregious conflicts of interest and corruption in running the IPL and BCCI.
But the real story of the IOA is that Abhay Chautala (son of the former Haryana CM, Om Prakash Chautala, and grandson of Devi Lal, who was DPM in VP Singh's government) was the President of the IOA, and is still apparently pulling the strings from behind the scenes. (N Ramachandran is just a proxy for Abhay Chautala; the former represents the squash federation, which is not even an Olympic sport! That Ramachandran is also president of the World Squash Federation is neither here nor there, but his predecessor at the WSF was the the all-time great Jahangir Khan -- what an utter travesty that we have N Srinivasan's brother as the best candidate that we could put forward to run the WSF, and also the IOA!!).
The IOA Vice President Tarlochan Singh is a 3-term Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha (who appointed his son as chief medical officer of the Indian team at Rio, despite him being totally unqualified; the audacity and cynicism of this particular appointment was perhaps the most egregious at Rio).

Abhay Chautala is the guy whose shenanigans cost us all the momentum built up in Boxing at the last two Olympics. He insisted on remaining head of our Boxing federation even after he was indicted by the CBI (for having assets that were 5 times larger than his known sources of income). Indicted and imprisoned officials cannot hold office in IOC-affiliated bodies, but Abhay Chautala insisted on running the boxing federation -- which got it suspended, and prevented our boxers from participating in international events for over a year (a huge setback). Even our participation in Rio was briefly in jeopardy because of Chautala, which is why he stepped aside (but seems to have continued pulling the strings from behind the scenes).

Shooting, the sport that brought us a silver in 2004, a gold in 2008, a silver and bronze in 2012, but nothing in 2016 (apart from a 4th place finish by Bindra, the gold medallist in 2008) is run by the son of Amrinder Singh, the Congress MP and former Congress CM of Punjab (and scion of the Patiala maharajas who played such a vital role in helping the British put down the first war of Indian Independence in 1857-58).

Batra of HI sacked Terry Walsh soon after India won the Asiad gold to qualify for the Rio Olympics in hockey, the single biggest setback to our chances of bringing back a hockey medal (perhaps even gold) from Rio.

The Athletics Federation may have participated in a systematic doping program, evident in exceptional qualifying times/distances (many of them achieved at the last opportunity in June 2016) that the majority of athletes couldn't repeat (in fact, they were often more than 5% behind the times/distances of just two months ago at Rio).

Bungling and elementary missteps by the Wrestling federation have ruined the career of Narsingh Yadav, who (alongwith Sushil Kumar) was a genuine medal prospect in the 74Kg freestyle category. Instead neither Sushil nor Narsingh could participate, while the latter got a 4-year ban.

There are lots of other examples and details that can be cited, but these are some of those that come immediately to my mind. Almost every Indian who did us proud at Rio did it on his/her own, in a solitary quest driven by their own motivation and the support of an extraordinary coach/mentor/family. But sometimes, sports administrators managed to act as hurdles in the path of even the most motivated and determined of our athletes. We must do all we can, in our own small ways, to stop this insanity!

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby ankit1407 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:33 pm

Getting rid of sports ministry can be a good starting point when likes of Sarbananda, Vijay Goel are choosen as sports minister, also in our set up they are hardly of any use...

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:51 pm

Actually, despite what we think, our ministers have no power to do anything useful in sports (and so is the case in most other ministries too). That's from the nature of our Constitution, but don't get me started on that :) ..

Ministers do have the ability to give goodies to others, but not to make anybody do any work, so they do what they can, which is to be good to a bunch of sidekicks, and get some political help. They have the ability to waste money, in other words. That they all do very well. Such is the nature of our system that doesn't have proper mechanisms for accountability and reward structure for getting things done.

So, blaming the ministers won't get us anywhere. The blame lies mostly with federations, but there also we find that changes won't happen. PKB did a great job of laying out a couple of real problem cases. What's the solution? I have no clue.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby ankit1407 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:26 pm

Its not blaming the ministry, as you said they hardly have power to take any decisions, so why pay tax payers money to fund trips of jokers such as Vijay Goel, and before that current CM of Assam did nothing noteworthy in his capacity as sports minister...

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Sin Hombre » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:35 pm

Most of our federations are run by crimi.. politicians so nothing can be done in those sports.

We need to find a sport where
1. racial physiology doesn't play a role (so no track for example)
2. has a high enough medal count
3. is mostly about finding and training the right individuals
4. India has had no success previously so a small chance that the crooks haven't set up their fiefdoms yet.

Maybe rowing is the answer. FInd 18-21 year olds with good upper body strength, high lactic acid threshold and high VO2 max. With a population like ours, it is not preposterous to expect to find numbers in the thousands.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby ankit1407 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:45 pm

I remember having the same discussion post London, oh it's India... nothing changes here....

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby sameerph » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:47 pm

I would have just said replace all head of federations from politicians to sportsmen but that does not seem to work too. Athletics Federation is headed by a former athlete, Adille Sumariwala but we have seen what has happened in athletics. Also in cricket, we have seen a lot of cricketers entering the administration but not being too successful. So, that may not be the solution.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby sportsfan » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:27 pm

We need to clone P Gopichand like visionaries for other sports.
Seriously though... Driven coaches make a huge difference to a sports program. US Women's gymnastics is a great example. What the Karolyi duo (mainly Martha) did is simply legendary. I feel, P Gopichand is on a similar path for India's badminton.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby ssp » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:50 pm

Too many idiot administrators in every sport (apart from badminton) who have no interest in results. Almost impossible to remove these sh*ts from their positions and somehow, they will carry on because of the incredible apathy from the media, the government and the general public.

Look at what GB has done in 20 yrs. 1 gold in 1996 to 2nd in the medals table. They spent a lot of money but only where there were chances of multiple medals. They get every aspect sorted -coaches, training, nutrition, exposure, selections etc- out to maximise results. I bet if we spent the same amount of money as GB, our results would still be disappointing because our administrators would mess up somewhere along the way!

I think we peaked around 2010-12 (due to CWG effect) and now have come down to our usual standard. If it wasn't for 2 outstanding performances, we would have ended up with zero medals and in future Olympics, the latter scenario is more likely than any improvements.

We seem to get to 8-20th in world level terms, but just can't get that extra performance to win medals. That kind of level wins us medals at CWG and to a lesser extent, Asian games, but we are not good enough to win multiple medals at Olympic level.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Sin Hombre » Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:50 pm

^^ exactly. We need to figure out sports with administrators who are not crooked or stupid.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby prasen9 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:22 am

Can one of you who is in India (and has the time) file a PIL at the Supreme Court? Just like it did for BCCI, maybe it can do so for the IOA. Find some cause to file the lawsuit.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Prashant » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:05 pm

Forgive me if I sound like a Republican - but, what needs to happen in India is that we take sports out of the hands of the government & federations & put it in private hands. I have more faith in a Gopichand or Vimal Kumar to produce an Olympic medal for us, given enough money, than I have in the entire cadre of morons who populate our bureaucracy.

PKB has identified some issues that come up during the actual Olympiad - poor flights, lack of provisions, moron officials partying etc. Yes, those issues can & should be fixed at the government/federation level. But fixing those won't earn us any more medals when the interim four years is more of the same crap. I have a hard time believing that if we had flown all the athletes business class & not let any officials party, that would somehow have resulted in more medals.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jaydeep » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:18 pm

Olympic Gold Quest posted nice post on facebook about performance of their athletes.
OGQ wrote:1) 21 athletes supported by OGQ participated at the Rio 2016 Olympics across 6 sports
2) PV Sindhu won the silver medal in Badminton to make the entire nation proud
3) Jitu Rai came to the final of the 10 m air pistol, gurpreet singh came 7th in 25 m rpf
4) Women's archery team lost in quarters of the team event
5) Overall, as OGQ we feel that our efforts to help the athletes were not good enough and we need to introspect deeply
6) We will analyse performances at rio, learn and improve. Hope to come back stronger
7) We congratulate Sakshi for her bronze medal, Abhinav, Rohan-Sania, Dipa, Lalita, The Indian Hockey Team, Srikanth and Mairaj for their excellent performances
8) We are proud of all our athletes who competed at the Rio Olympics.
9) We are very open to feedback, suggestions and constructive criticism.
10) Thank you to all the wonderful fans of Indian sport. Keep supporting all Indian athletes

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:39 pm

For the record, the US Olympics team (except a few like the basketball team that can probably buy a whole airline company if they wanted to, and a few other exceptions with their own money or sponsorship), flew on economy class on United airlines. So did the British Olympians too, on British Airways. They get many more medals than our athletes, so our athletes should just keep quiet and not open their mouths. At the same time, our freeloader politicians and Federation bosses traveling on business class make me puke; and they should be ashamed of themselves. If you ask me, NOBODY should be allowed to travel on anything but economy if GOI is footing the bill. Period (exceptions are the president and the prime minister of India).

If anybody wants to sponsor any athlete for a higher-priced seat, that is most welcome. And I will keep waiting for an advertisement in India that says - "We flew Sakshi on first class; she got us a medal!" (from any company India).

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:41 pm

jaydeep wrote:Olympic Gold Quest posted nice post on facebook about performance of their athletes.
OGQ wrote:5) Overall, as OGQ we feel that our efforts to help the athletes were not good enough and we need to introspect deeply
6) We will analyse performances at rio, learn and improve. Hope to come back stronger

How refreshing to see this, in Indians sports!!! Thank you, OGQ.


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