With less than 100 days to go for the 2016 Rio Olympics, infrastructural lapses have overshadowed the country’s athletic landscape. The focal point of the issue seems to be Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, which has often acted as a cradle for the sport in India.
In an unfortunate incident yesterday, four athletes preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics were asked ‘not to disturb proceedings’ of a Bollywood film shooting. Ironically, the film, ‘Sultan,’ involves India’s Olympic goodwill ambassador, Salman Khan, whose selection has created quite a social media stir.
An onlooker to the incident said, “The security personnel had absolutely no clue who they were. I being a massive sports fan, knew who these athletes were hence I was very shocked. On one hand, we are trying to help our athletes in every way possible. On the other hand, our very own ambassador is shooting a sports film, but not letting athletes practice.”
The stadium was marred in controversy three days back, after power shortage cost India a potential Olympic qualification berth. Now, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) will be hosting the Federation Cup, which involves most of the Rio qualified athletes.
The onlooker said, “A part of the stadium was booked for the shooting, which is completely understandable. However, these athletes were limbering down on the part which was not assigned for the shoot. Hence it didn’t make any sense to treat them the way they did. What is saddening is that the film security didn’t even know how many laurels they have bought to the country.”
Upon asking, the athletes said that they do not want to get into any controversy and don’t want to be named. One of them said, “We don’t want to get into any of this, it does feel bad, but our goal is Rio and we don’t want to be distracted by anything else.”