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Playing With Sports

Playing With Sports
Highlights

The magnetism of sports is such that it not only draws fans of every age-group but also people in power, albeit for a different purpose. If the fans turn into enthusiastic spectators, policy-makers coming in the garb of politicians are attracted to sports for an altogether different – a selfish one at that – reason.

The magnetism of sports is such that it not only draws fans of every age-group but also people in power, albeit for a different purpose. If the fans turn into enthusiastic spectators, policy-makers coming in the garb of politicians are attracted to sports for an altogether different – a selfish one at that – reason.

Rubbing shoulders with celebrated sportspersons implies a natural media mileage that helps boost their status. The biggest problem with the promotion of sports in the Indian context is its politicisation wherein the politician, who gets anointed as the president or patron, makes hay even as the athlete is left in the lurch. The most unique aspect about the politics-sports syndrome is that politicians shed their affiliation and come under one roof as fellowmembers of the same association.
Instances are one too many – Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley, Farooq Abdullah have been in cricket ‘administration’ at the same time; Suresh Kalmadi and the Chautalas joined forces for the Indian Olympic Association. They may not see eye to eye in Legislatures and Parliament but come across as true-blue sports lovers on the field. The same sentiment is running among the politicians from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The AP Olympic Association took too long to be split formally.
Now that there will be separate entities for both States, the battle for power has been taken over by the politicians of the day. In a rather amateur development, even before the baptism, two factions are at loggerheads with the emergence of rival factions set to stake claim, which only endorses the view that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
A P Jithender Reddy, the lone candidate for the Telangana Olympic Association President’s post, is now poised for a clash with fellow TRS leaders G Jagadish Reddy and S Venugopalachary. It is rather amusing that only ruling party is obsessed with taking control of the Olympic panels.
In Andhra Pradesh also, there is political colour to the elections, which will be held simultaneously on April 19. If TRS members are battling it out for power in Telangana, it is a direct showdown between two TDP heavyweights from Andhra Pradesh. CM Ramesh is headed for a straight fight with Lok Sabha member Jayadev Galla.
Tensions are running high even though there is no indication if the panel that eventually assumes office will have any money in the coffers. Only a select few sportspersons are likely to be in the new panels. Politicians cannot be denied entry into such august associations and federations because they bring in sponsors and hence their importance. The APOA wishes to operate from the Olympic Bhavan that exists in Hyderabad, which is rather ridiculous.
It can operate from any two-storey building in Vijayawada or Mangalagiri. Rather than have a political arrogance, it will augur well if a sense of sportsmanship is developed among those who wish to take sports to a higher level.
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