5 of the biggest feuds in Indian sporting history
Sports in India normally takes a backseat unless it concerns cricket, which is one area where the country dominates the competition. Even then, it is probably safe to say that there have been plenty of glorious moments in Indian sporting history but there have also been controversies and ugly feuds. Sport always has 2 sides to it – a beautiful and inspirational side and also an ugly and conroversial side. While a fight between two rivals can be taken in its context, to see them wash their dirty linen in public isn’t actually a pretty sight.
An ugly and public spat between India’s leading tennis players has grabbed headlines recently with Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna accusing Leander Paes of being a toxic person on social media.
In fact, social media has become a platform for sports personalities to take digs at each other while a huge audience look on. It all started with Paes’ accusations that the best team was not picked for the Rio Olympics (aimed at the pairing of Bopanna and Sania for the mixed doubles), prompting the reaction from Sania and Bopanna.
In the light of this feud, let’s take a look at some of the other ugly instances in Indian sports which has led to such fights between individuals and organisations.
5) OP Jaisha vs Athletics Federation of India (AFI)
OP Jaisha, hailing from Kerala, is one of India’s most successful long distance runners, having bagged medals for the country in 1500m, 3000m and 5000m events at various Asian championships, including the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
The 33-year-old recently switched over to the Marathon and promptly broke the national record – as a result of which she was a medal hope for India at Rio 2016. But she came up with a lacklustre effort that saw her finish 13 minutes later than her personal best and collapsed on the finishing line. But it was her revelations (or rather accusations) that caught the nation’s attention.
She said that the AFI did not provide water and refreshments to her during the race and she had to rely on water given by the Rio 2016 organisers, which was the prime cause of her poor finish. She said, “During my entire run, I was given water only four times, whereas I need to drink it at least 8-9 times for recovery.
The booths designated to India were empty. I had to depend on water from the Rio organisers, but they were there only every 8 kms.” In response AFI said, “We were told by the Rio organisers that they would be providing refreshments, hence we didn’t bother. Also, Jaisha’s coaches didn’t inform us about the specific refreshments, as per the rule you mentioned.”
When OP Jaisha denied the suggestion that she had refused refreshments, AFI stated – “Both Kavita and Jaisha denied any extra refreshments to be present. They also stated that they will use the refreshments provided by the organisers, if needed.” Though the incident brought shame upon the commitment levels of the Indian officials, the Sports Minister responded by just ordering a routine probe into the matter.