As the Rio Olympics 2016 gets underway at the Maracana Stadium on August 5, the world will see India’s largest ever contingent on the grandest stage of them all. Though it may sound glorious, the Indian path to Olympics has been a patchy one with roadblocks at every corner. Controversies surrounded the Indian team from the beginning as the selection process in various categories went with decisions that were not appreciated by the sportsmen. Towards the end of all the speculations as the Olympics neared, a series of controversies in the form of doping charges emerged and engulfed players and sports associations. Legal battles followed. Some decisions were happy, some ended the paths for Olympic dreams. Amidst all controversies, as the Indian contingent landed in Rio, the hockey team was found have faced the lack fo some basic facilities. Leander Paes could not find a room at the biggest sporting event of the year. His partner Bopanna couldn’t help express his grief at not being able to get a partner of his choosing. Narsingh Yadav still remains in India, waiting for a complete approval by the authorities.
Let us have a look at the controversies that shocked the Indian sports fraternity:
The Doping Charges:
Wrestler Narsingh Yadav failed the dope test, which saw him nearly being eliminated from the team. Hailed as a strong contender for a podium finish, his exclusion would have been a major jolt to India’s medal hopes. But a disciplinary committee was set up by the National Anti-Doping Association, which acquitted him of all charges citing sabotage by a fellow wrestler for his dope test failure. Yadav has received a positive call from the United World Wrestling and is waiting for a WADA approval before he travels to Rio.
Shot Putter Inderjit Singh failed both his dope tests and has been ruled out of the Rio Olympics 2016.
The Wrestling Federation of India earlier had chosen Narsingh Yadav instead of Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar. Sushil Kumar had expressed his disappointment at the selection gone to court. The court had made the decision in Yadav’s favour.
The All India Tennis Association had gone against the highest ranked Indian in doubles, Rohan Bopanna’s wish to choose his own partner and picked the veteran Leander Paes for the Olympics 2016. The two players are reported to have been sharing a cold vibe ever since.
Hockey captain Change:
Senior goalkeeper PR Sreejesh as the captain of the national team for the Rio Olympics, removing long-standing skipper Sardar Singh. The move was surprising as the timing was too close to the Olympics.
Poor facilities in Rio
When the Indian team landed in Rio, these troubles were expected to go away as the focus remained on performing well in the games. But the Indian hockey chief Coach complained that there was a lack of basic facilities such as shortage of chairs and televisions in the Olympic Village in Rio.
Tennis legend Leander Paes faced trouble as he realised that there was no room allocated to him. He had to change in the Chef’s room. Earlier rumors had emerged that Paes had refused to stay with Bopanna. Paes was late in arriving at Rio as he was participating in a competition in New York. In his absence, Rohan Bopanna had to practice with Sania Mirza, Nenad Zimonjic, and Max Mirnyi. He did not seem too happy about it.
India’s road to Rio has been full of these unwanted series of events. Though the Indian contingent is full of some world-class athletes who have been very hopeful of improving their performances, it has to be understood that such events can have a harmful impact on any player’s psyche.