Does it amaze you when you hear the stories of poverty and success in same sentence? Does it amaze us when we hear the stories of some of the best sports-persons and the hardship they have dealt with before and throughout their careers? Does it amaze us when we hear about the sorry state of affairs of sports facilities and some athletes still coming up with great performances? Does it amaze that most of these athletes come from rural India and mostly where they have much economic and social constraints, where work and employment is still precarious? Does it alarm when one get to know that some of these phenomenal sports-persons come from the areas which are still dealing with the issues of hunger, high rate of unemployment, major gender gap? Areas where women coming out and trying to make cut into sports are still taboo? How often does one hear about women from marginal sections (Dalit/Backward caste/tribal) becoming a sportsperson?
Some stories of these kinds make usual snippets in many Hindi newspapers around big sports events. Though, these stories, which are posed as individual heroic one and less of a critical approach to see the working of sports administration, are meant to be sensational and don’t do justice to the entire sports affairs in India. Continue reading Beneath the glitter – Looking at The Asian Games : Praveen Verma→
The Sports Authority of India recently excluded Dutee Chand from the Commonwealth Games on the basis that her androgen level exceeds the ‘normal’ range thus enhancing her performance and giving her a competitive advantage over other women athletes. This test seeks to eliminate any ‘unfair’ advantage which some women may draw from tested ‘elevated’ androgen levels and is invoked only when women perform excellently in non-traditional competitive sporting arena. Failing to accommodate the role of environmental factors and variations in ‘female’ bodies, such tests are deep rooted in the ideas of gender stereotyping and discrimination and question women’s abilities to perform beyond traditional gender defined roles. Understanding international standards and the constitutional guarantee of fundamental rights in tandem, the unconstitutionality of these tests and the various rights violations visited upon the athlete Dutee Chand begin to surface. Instead of focusing on this incident as a conspiracy or a political scheme, it is time that the matter is seen as violation of rights of Dutee Chand both on the grounds of the test failing to meet international standards and on its patent unconstitutionality.
“I am completely shattered over the development. I am an athlete and wanted to bring glory to my country. All my efforts have gone astray,”