An open letter to Narendra Modi: Narsingh Yadav needs your help to get a fair probe
How are you? I hope you are doing good.
There is something that needs your attention right now, which is why I am writing this letter. On behalf of all sports lovers in this country, I request you to extend a hand of support to Narsingh Yadav. After all, you are the one who wants to bring a positive change for the development of sports in 'Bharat'.
Sir, I ask you, is this the way to treat an Indian Olympian? I'll break down Narsingh Yadav's achievements for you in case you are not aware of them.
A medal at the 2013 World Championships
A medal at the 2014 Asian Games
A medal at the 2015 World Championships
Unbeaten at the 2015 Pro Wrestling League
Why would he consume a banned substance so close to the Games? Here's one more fact to back up my point. Narsingh won a medal at the recently-concluded Spanish Grand Prix this month, and his tests were perfectly clean at that event.
The bigger question here is, how can a random person come and mix 'white powder' in the food of one of our brightest medal prospects?
While the senior members from the federation live lavishly, why can't they take proper care of the facilities provided to the players? I am deeply saddened that I have to express my resentment and dismay at the unreliable and irresponsible working of the Sports Authorities in India in this fashion. I would request you to devote some of your valuable time to putting a proper structure in place so that athletes don't have to go through such harrowing experiences.
Do you want us to accept that there is not enough money for sports? I'm sorry to say this Sir, but we all know there is.
Why did Narsingh Yadav and Inderjeet Singh – two promising athletes headed for the Olympics – test positive 10 days before the Games? Is it not the responsibility of the authorities to motivate and encourage the athletes in the lead up to the 'greatest show on earth'?
While the metropolitan cities have proper facilities in terms of infrastructure, why are professional athletes denied that in other cities? If a junior wrestler can add a 'banned substance' to the food of a Rio-bound Olympian, then the next generation will have to think a lot before taking up any sport professionally.
Sir, it is almost as if the honours these sportspersons bring to the country don't mean a thing; everything that happens in Indian sports is subject to the whims and fancies of the officials.
Have you heard of Dutee Chand pleading for new running shoes or hockey captain Ritu Rani's exclusion from national team under mysterious circumstances? Countless other players are being mistreated by the officials, but they continue playing the sport. You know why, Sir? Because of their love for the game.
If such determined individuals could be given the right treatment and exposure, we would never have to launch crowdfunding campaigns for them. I believe we can be a major sporting nation and the only thing stopping us right now is the corruption inside the federations and the 'chalta hai' attitude. The lack of professionalism with which the federations are run is another major reason why there are cases like this. The lack of sporting experience at the highest official levels is easily visible.
The sporting bodies have failed both Narsingh Yadav. They have failed Ritu Rani too. We have come a long way and the country is trying hard to look beyond cricket. Do you think these kind of instances are helping matters? The urgent need of the hour to cleanse Indian sports of politics and corruption.
Narsingh Yadav needs help in this hour of difficulty
Imagine Narsingh sitting at home from August 5 to 21 and wondering about their missed opportunity due to lack of support from the nation. How cruel would that be?
We need 'achhe din' for our medal hopefuls, and only swift action by you can ensure that. The athletes will be valued for who they are, and not brought down to the level of having to file an FIR for testing the “quality of food”, only if you intervene.
It is not that we don't have talented athletes in the country. It is just that we don't nurture them, we don't motivate them.
Just the way reciting slogans in foreign lands wins applause, this will do too. You have already proved yourself before. Here is one more chance for you to reinforce the fact that you care for the nation.
You have travelled extensively to foreign lands in the past one year. The ambitious agenda you portray in your speeches is admirable. You talk about India matching foreign countries soon. But Sir, I have a question here.
How exactly can India compete with China at the Games in the future if there are cases like Narsingh Yadav? Unless you take care of these challenges with honesty and courage, our backwardness in sports will remain incurable.
I seek your concern and attention for the hard work the athletes put in to succeed. The sweat, hours spent away from family, the hard yards they put in the golden years of their lives to bring pride to the nation – all of that needs to be rewarded. And you are the best person to give them their just rewards.
The Olympics represent the spirit that can inspire our youth to bring laurels to their nation. But for a majority of our population, it is nothing more than just another headline in the newspaper. With so many young heroes to look up to, India’s future is very promising – but it needs the right push and encouragement.
Is India shining? Not yet – at least not in the sporting realm. But you, more than anyone else in the country, have the chance to do something about that. You can bring transparency to our sports bureaucracy, and ensure swift justice for the wronged athletes. In the process, you will only motivate millions of others to take up sport too.
Thank you for your time.
Your fellow citizen,