Despite being the second most populous country in the world, India has just won 18 medals at 21 summer Olympics since 1920. Last wave of disgrace was at the 2008 games held in Beijing where India ranked last in the per-capita medals table. Even though the economy has surged five fold over two decades, sports has never been the government’s priority.
But, times are on the brink of taking a completely new course. How? Indian corporate messiahs have finally decided to jump in the sports sector in their latest attempt of rescuing the reputation and national pride of India and Indian athletes.
Topping the list of these saviors include Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of ArcelorMittal, world’s largest steel mill and the chairman of Reliance Corporation, Mukesh Ambani. Both these billionaires have decided to pump some of their billions for the training and equipment of athletes in the hope of seeing more Indians on the podium in London. Walking on similar footsteps, Ratan Tata, the owner of India’s largest Tata Group has also decided to back an athletics school.
Image from: London 2012
With so much being done in the name of national pride and prestige by the sportingly responsible corporate sector of India, it is particularly concerning to learn about the poor chaps of Indian wrestling team, being served rotten food without the absence of any proper dietician or nutritionist.
Image from: Wikipedia
After reading about the dismal conditions in which these guys are forced to practice, you actually ask yourself, where is Ambani or Mittal when you actually need one? Or maybe Tata or Malya for that matter? One good sponsor offering a juicy and mouth-watering deal and that’s it. You can look forward to a brigade of gold and silver medals at your disposal.
It’s after all the monetary factor that has overshadowed almost everything when it comes to sports in India. Also, with the Indian Premier League emerging as the world’s richest cricket franchise with a worth of $3.67 billion, the role of commercialism and the transformation of sports into a glamorized commodity is crystal clear.
Image from: ArcelorMittal
With these guys ready to spend billions, their investments are provided complete security by the political hierarchy that currently dominates India’s industry of sports. Half of India’s 25 Olympic sports federations are run by politicians and their aides. From legislators to chairman of committees, everything is dictated on political terms.
The entire corporate-politico nexus comes into creation when to a whole lot of money, you add the flavor of politics and it forms an unbreakable bond of security, joint interests and a legal cover-up.
But, everything is packaged with the tag of corporate social responsibility especially when it comes to national pride.
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