And for a Friday, halfway thru the Covid impacted Tokyo Olympics 2020, some thoughts..… some musings.….
Hats off to the Japanese and the IOC in overcoming the humongous challenges in getting 206 Nations to send 10,305 of the world’s Best Athletes to participate in Olympics 2020 being conducted in July 2021 under the strictest Covid protocols in a 68,000 capacity stadium for the inaugural function. No visitors were allowed, just a few hundred officials, participants and ofcourse with a huge world wide TV audience. The function was attended by the Japanese Emperor Naruhito, French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden. India sent its largest ever contingent of 120 athletes, 67 men and 53 Women participating in 18 events, biggest being Athletics, Boxing, Shooting and Men and Women Hockey Teams. Results so far may not be to our expectations, but under the hugely trying covid conditions prevailing in India, in the aftermath of the second wave, every Indian was impacted. But let’s not loose heart. Indians have very strikingly embraced Sports, Athletics and Games. Professional coaching, world class sports infrastructure and games scholarships. There is all round recognition and encouragement across the country. Every Indian state has special focus on one or the other sport. Imagine Australia with a population of 26 mn people could send 478 athletes who all qualified in their respective fields. Ofcourse the largest is 613 athletes from USA. Let’s hope in 2024 at Paris we have a bigger contingent and commensurate medals.
The story of our Silver Medalist Mirabai Chanu is so fascinating and am sure millions of youngsters across the rural and tribal heartlands will be enthused and motivated by Mirabai’s success journey. Born the youngest of 5 siblings to a poor construction worker in Nongpok Sekmal near Imphal valley, 12 year old Mirabai used to pick wood from the forests to supplement the family income. Her 61 years old mother, Tombi Devi recalls even as a child she could carry 70 kgs on her head, almost double her body weight. As a reward for winning Silver at the Olympics, her mother has prepared a welcome dinner at home with Mirabai’s most favourite Meitei dishes – KANGSOI – vegetable stew; EROMBA – boiled vegetables with fermented fish; PAKNAM – banana flower with chickpea flour and fermented fish steam cooked in turmeric leaves. The state of Manipur will give her an Award of Rs One Crore ( 10 mn) plus a Government job. Three cheers to Mirabai.
Motto of Tokyo Olympics – Faster, Higher, Stronger Together, reflecting the Pandemic stricken World. Let’s all enjoy the Games whilst still following all COVID precautions, the spirited way, the for-together way, the SEEGOS way.