The 23-year-old Haryana grappler's podium finish at the Olympics has exposed the fault lines in the way we approach, write or talk about sports.
Even as Sakshi Maliks’s achievement at the Rio Olympics has come as a pleasant surprise for crores of Indians, in her victory lies a lesson — never write-off an athlete. The 23-year-old Haryana grappler’s podium finish at the Olympics has exposed the fault lines in the way we approach, write or talk about sports.
Like life, all sports have scope for the extraordinary and surprises. Battling bruises in five fights on a single day, the Haryana wrestler secured a gripping come-from-behind 8-5 win over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan after trailing 0-5 in the first period.
Prior to Sakshi’s bronze win, India’s medal drought at the Olympics this year had led many to question and mock abilities of members of the Indian contingent. Some like socialite Shobhaa De even derided Indian athletes, tweeting all they are interested in is clicking selfies, wasting opportunity and money. Not only this, as India’s medal hopes dwindled with only six athletes remaining in the contention till yesterday, some media reports suggested it was almost an end for the Indian challenge at Rio Olympics.
While Sakshi was yet to play, reports pinned all hopes on famous names like Yogeshwar Dutt and PV Sindhu. That they are still in contention is a good news for India, however.
We often tend to write about those who are already famous. Underdogs are seldom appreciated in advance.
In sports there is never a loser. One wins, another competes. Any athlete representing the country at the Olympics is an equal contender for the medal. Writing-off anyone of them in advance, is mere a reflection of limitations of our intellect which fails to appreciate the efforts and focus on the end result. This is not to say that winning is not important, of course it is, but not at the cost of the spirit of sports. If we can imbibe it, life may also become a sport everyday.