TODAY -

The Monika episode
- Reflections on the sorry state of Indian Sports -

Robert J Baite *

That the ace weightlifter L Monica has been cleared from the controversial doping test which led to dis-qualification for the Beijing Olympics, is an ample testi moriy of how the authorities concerned have miserably bungled.

It is also noteworthy that Monika is one of the hopeful athlete for a medal for the country given her sterling record. However, it was unfortunate she had to be chucked out at the eleventh hour for having failed a dope test.

Obviously, she fought back and demanded to know the truth and she even went to the extend of saying that one can shoot her if she fails the dope test. One can understand the harassment and mental agony she must have faced. After all she had been practicing and honing her skills to bring laurels for the country.

Now the question is why was she denied the berth for the Olympics at the first place and then why was she declared cleared later.

This has brought to fore the question that whether the dope test was an alibi for denying her the chance to represent the country.

If she has cleared the dope test, then who is responsible for bungling up at the first place? Is the method of the dope test unscientific and not up to the standard? Or was it purely a conspiracy to defame Monika and let her miss the bus to the Olympics?

It has been commented again and again that the Indian Sports scenario needs immediate overhaul. The case of Monika is a living testimony that something is wrong with our Sports policy.

A country with more than a billion population could only win a silver medal in the last Olympics where as smaller countries like Japan could produce a dozen medalists. India which was once the powerhouse of the game Hockey could not even qualify for the Beijing Olympics Hockey.

If India has to produce world standard athletes and players, then the people responsible for the growth of Sports should put on their thinking caps and strategies should be chalked out now. It should be a long term a policy because it requires years of grooming promising players and build and develop new infrastructure to in ternational standard.

The problem with us is that we have no dearth for good players. The only thing is that everything in India is politicised and this includes even sports. This is indeed very unfortunate and is one of the main reasons why India has failed miserably in Sports.

Coming back to Monika, it is highly felt that such irresponsible attitude of the authorities behind the dope test should be pulled up. It liad always been suspected right from time the result of the dope test was announced that there must have been a serious lepse.

The authorities concerned refused to name the salt which was found to be positive nor it does reveal the test to the public or to Monika herself. Monika had even challenged the dope test crying foul over her exclusion from the Indian squad.

It was only due to intense pressure from the Chief Minister of the State himself beside Sports Minister and the Manipur Olympic Association. Had there been no such pressure and Monika accepting her fate she might not have been cleared with the issue buried inside the files to gather dust.

Above all kudos to our CM 0 Ibobi Singh for calling a press before the national media explaining succinctly the circumstances that led to the disqualification of Monika.

Such kind of faux pas should not be condoned be cause it concerns tarnishing the image of a promising player. The Centre should take up immediate steps so that such mistakes do not repeat again.

If necessary the case should be handed over to the CBI for a thorough investigation. The results of the investigation should be made public and anyone found guilty should be immediately prosecuted. This should not be only the interest of the player concerned but also for the development of sports in the country.

Related News, article and galleries on Monika




* Robert J Baite wrote this article for The Sangai Express. He can be contacted at robertbaite(at)rediffmail(dot)com . This article was webcasted on 14th August 2008.

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