By Cherryy Chauhan
Delayed almost three times over the course of 4 years, the XII South Asian Games were finally kicked-off in Guwahati on 5 February 2016. A total of 8 countries from South Asian subcontinent competed valorously in 226 events from 22 sports.
While the games recorded the highest number of medal wins by India in the South Asian games yet, the reality of the conclusion of games doesn’t rely only on that.
To understand the whole menace, we need to get down on the facts.
- GAMES LINGERED FOR OVER 4 YEARS
The games were initially supposed to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal back in 2012. Due to some obscure reasons, the games were later postponed to 2013 and then to 2015 due to another brawl with the Indian Olympic Association. The games didn’t even take place in 2015 but in 2016, which does shed some light on the perfunctory organization of the games.
- NO SPORTS VILLAGE
Unlike most multi-sport International level games, the XII South Asian Games lacked even a proper sports village to offer to its participating athletes and their coaches. They were made to stay in different hotels spread across the whole city of Guwahati.
- UNPREPARED STADIUMS
Doesn’t matter if the games didn’t witness a CWG 2010 level of corruption, there were still many shortcomings.One of such incidents were shifting of the venue of the Football matches from a 10,000 seater Nehru Stadium to a 2000 seater Sports Authority of India Training Complex on the grounds of discoloration of the grass to brown. Like Seriously?
- LUKEWARM PARTICIPATION
India won a total of 308 medals. The next in the medal tally was Sri Lanka with 186 medals. Ever since the inception of the games India has topped the medal tally, yet there was no effective competition. Much of the Pakistani team performed poorly. Most of India’s players dropped out on account of a more-serious Rio Olympics on the way.
- POLITICAL INTERFERENCE CAUSED DE-RECOGNISATION
After numerous accounts of conflicts between the Indian Olympic Association and the Indian government over the conduction of the games, the International Basketball Association finally interfered and decided to de-recognize the tournament and hence it was called off rendering the number of sports to be limited to 22 instead of 23.
- MESSED UP NEPAL’S NATIONAL ANTHEM
The thriving men’s football team of Nepal finally won their first gold in the event nearly after 20 years. During the time of playing the national anthem of the winning nation, Nepal’s national anthem was cut short by an announcer thinking that the anthem had already ended. Without any further ado, the Nepalese team went on to complete their anthem anyways.
- ATITHI DEVO BHAVA!
While we might sit here and scrutinize the management of the games, the players from Afghanistan showed their gratitude for the hospitality they received from the host nation. Singer Aryana Sayeed was seen thanking the Indian government for the support showed to the Afghani team.
One might infer from the desultory XII South Asian Games that, the games are no longer prestigious for most Indian athletes who are now targeting World Championships and Olympics as their goals. And why shouldn’t they when the next best competitor that the South Asian Games can offer them is nearly 50 or 100 ranks below them. Even this year the games turned out to be a hefty deal for the Indian government considering that nearly INR 308 crores were spent on the management of the games. This is something that the Indian government needs to do some thinking about.
On a lighter note, we congratulate all the athletes who won and also to the ones who participated in the tournament. We wish them good luck and success in future.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.