It’s also interesting that many of these opinions come from the same people who somehow know for a fact that Sania Mirza is potentially top-5 material but has failed to achieve everything she could have because of lack of focus or because of the media hype/endorsements. (Personally, I think it’s at least equally probable that Sania was never even top-50 material to begin with but managed to over-achieve her way into the top 30. But that hypothesis doesn't make for a nice bitching session, no?)
You’d have to be soul-dead not to feel happy for Abhinav, of course. It’s a great achievement and a lot of hard work must have gone into it. But on this post, Aishwarya mentions an astonishing quote by his dad:
“[As a 5-year-old] Abhinav kept a water balloon on our maid's head and began shooting, knowing little that a slight mistake could have proved fatal.”
The picture that springs to mind after reading the senior Bindra’s words is that of a little nawab clapping his hands regally, whereupon a coterie of subservient maid-servants queues up, each eager to be the one to sacrifice her head for the Greater Cause (i.e., getting India an Olympic gold 20 years hence).
Which means the Olympic win could be a landmark in more ways than one. Up to now, the most appealing story in Indian sport has been the rags-to-riches tale; the poor little boy battling the odds to make it on the big stage. This could change now, as the focus shifts to little tykes in fabulously wealthy households. I can just see preparations for future Olympic glory getting underway in mansions, palaces and farmhouses around the country. Fat kids, overfed on greasy snacks, will pin their emaciated cooks to the floor as they rehearse for the heavyweight wrestling title of the world. Spoilt little rajkumars with a fondness for equestrian sports will climb onto the backs of their personal chauffeurs, dig their spurs sharply into their sides and make them gallop from one end of the 100-acre farm to the next. (For all I know, they already do this, but from now on they’ll do it with a medal in their sights.) Aspiring pole-vaulters will stack up the domestic help one on top of the other to make a post of just the right height (and a cushion for the landing).
I also predict that the general tone of the comments on Rediff.com will soon change from “Abhinav deserves 20 Bharat Ratnas” to “Abhinav and his filthy-rich family should be arrested for bribing the Olympics committee and depriving poor people of the opportunity to win medals.” In fact, it’s already started happening: see a few of the comments on this piece. There's a suggestion that this medal win doesn’t count as a “real achievement” because Abhinav's background doesn’t have the romance of Irfan Pathan’s. And here's a gem:
Looks like they bribed the judges to get Abhinav to win this false medal. I think a CBI inquiry must be instituted. If the Fat PAPA Sardar can spend crores of Rupees to train his worthless son why can't he bribe the chinkie and other beggar Russian judges...Nothing explains the human condition as lucidly as a Rediff messageboard does.