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The CWG – All is well that ends well...??

The cover story on TOI today [Oct 16, 2010] blunts a part of the punch of this piece. But let me write this anyway. This morn, got to read that the PM had ordered for investigations to the questionable deeds in the run-up to the CWG.

I have hardly followed CWG, 2010 but for snatches of golden news vide TOI sports pages – quite unlike 1982 Appu’s Asiad when I was glued to the Rohini TV from 9 AM to 9PM; initially at neighbours’ and towards midway at home [aka D48] - but was sub-consciously awaiting the sort of bouquets that Mr. Kalmadi will claim.

Like many I was disappointed with brand India being taken for a ride with all the negative media publicity on corruption and ineptitude. Like a few I also secretly feared a terrorist attack like 1972 Munich Games, and the further erosion of Brand India that might happen.

But then everyone’s delight, including mine – there were all smiles at the end. A good haul of 100+ medals, second in the tally. No horror stories from the stadia or the games village to soil the booty.

So, it’s time for a big party and garlands for the Organizing Committee and anointing Kalmadi at boss of IOC emeritus? Oops! Yes, this or such like erosion of Brand India I feared too secretly. But thankfully India Changing proved me wrong this time too. PM has announced stiffer, less hospitable feelers to Mr. Kalmadi.

India being what it is, where outcome rules roost. A good win justifies all tactics that led to it, worse even justifies the means. Where process and planning are a waste. Last minute, quick fix façade smart work ready for camera smiles is the norm. And being good enough is awesome. I was awaiting the misplaced celebrations.

I was keen to question whether a win is a win, despite the method. It is not. I am happy our PM endorses this. I endorse his steps too, irrespective of what will come out of the investigations. Indian investigations committees normally don’t come out with anything substantial. Also, it is difficult guess whether a Lalit Modi type witch hunt will at all be conducted against Mr. Kalmadi. Only time will tell – not worth guess really.

The point is simple. South Africa, China and much earlier in 1988 @ Seoul Games [when S. Korea it was an emerging economy] have dished out marvelous Organizational Performances for global sporting events. Mainly because of precision in planning and a huge sense of national pride. I am afraid, our performance this time was outright bad and was nowhere near global benchmarks of event management. We persisted with home grown methods the way we organize National Games or the Annual Congress meet, when it would have been wise to outsource the games to L&T and Indian Army combine. With the current performance Delhi will not win an Olympic bid for another 20 years; even though from the geo-political equation perspective it could have well got one had it bid.

As Mr. Swaminathan Aiyar said, this was a victory for the India private sector. Maybe if we have a consortium of Tatas, Reliance and L&T bid we may manage to see an Indian Olympic games. Else, we may need to wait another three decades years to have a mega event organized in India in the form of Olympic Games, 2040.

Oct 16, 2010


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