Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | January 30, 2011


Though I am an admirer of Kim Clijsters as an athlete, I was keen to watch Li Na too in yesterday’s Australian Open finals. Li Na was on the verge of putting icing on the cake when after becoming the first Chinese woman to be playing a grand slam final, she was about to win it. She started well and fought hard but her nerves got better of her.
By nature Chinese people are very disciplined. I am not sure whether it is due to their political regime or it is their inherent quality but more often than not I have met Chinese people who are very focused, competitive and structured. Li Na’s success is therefore not surprising to me. I feel this is perhaps not the end of her. She is going to win more. She looked hungry and one thing is assured she would fight towards it. Remember a Michael Chang – a Chinese who played for USA!

Yesterday, the Indian successful duo of Leander and Mahesh also fought hard and lost in the Australian open. They are exceptional people where successful sportsmen are very few. Yes, Indians have come up with occasional sparks of brilliance but consistently people who have remained Champions have been very few.

Patriotic Indians will talk of Indian sportsperson’s recent success in Commonwealth and Asian games but the entire episode of Commonwealth games has been laced with corruption beyond imagination. It is frustrating to read about the corruption surrounding the games especially when people outside the country start asking uncomforting questions regarding trustworthiness of Indians. The world would not remember the sportsmen as such but they would remember our work ethics. You cannot blame the world, can you?

As soon as I saw, social networking websites and West Bengal newspapers becoming agitated with an aging Sourav Ganguly shown the door in IPL, I was scared – oh my god, we are again going to make a fool of ourselves with our protests in Bengal. The dust did not settle much and organisers in Eden Gardens defaulted on their dates to get the stadium ready for a World Cup Cricket match. Another protest?

I come from Bengal, India, where people protest and destroy public property even during funerals, where nothing gets completed on time, where the educational establishments are going backwards in terms of their teaching standards, where most factories have closed down and those who want to open a new one are driven out, where the same political party has ruled for 30 years and people struggle to find an alternative – I come from Bengal, which is slowly becoming butt of all jokes within my own country.

While China and Chinese scale greater heights, parts of India such as Bengal is taking India behind. Forget the growth in GDP and huge consumer demand, Mr. PM we are not trusted by the global community.

At times, I feel scared, whether we would ever be discriminated because we come from such a frustrating part of the world. I doubt at times whether in reality we ever had a great history.

In all these, do we really care to have time for producing and appreciating athletes of Li Na’s stature?


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