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Friday, November 22, 2013

sad story of Olympic medalist .... and top earning Sportspersons...

Ever heard of Sita Sahu….. ? who worked in a road-side eatery…..

Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest batsman had a planned retirement and the Commercial kingdom ensured enough hype to make it a marketing summit …. Some players have been axed from the BCCI contracts ~ the emerging star Virat Kohli has become the fastest person to score 5000 runs in ODI (equalled Viv Richard’s feat in terms of matches – but much shorter in time) ~ and back home at Chennai, Vishwanathan Anand struggled making some tactical blunders…………

Sachin chose his moment and selected his venue too….. the emotional and big moment was when Sachin  Tendulkar returned to the ground after the lap of honour and bowed down to touch the 22-yard strip and prayed in a show of reverence. As Ganguly said, it was a message that whatever profession you pursue, you must respect that. You should not take it for granted if you want to make it big.  Away from the Cricketing field where he sure was a Don(ald Bradman) – Sachin was bigger in Commercial market too…….. of the many brands he endorsed - Adidas, Coca Cola, Future Group, Toshiba, Aviva India, and SAR Group - said they were looking for longer association with him after retirement. He has lost some like Canon, which chose not to re-up when their deal expired last year, seeing the twilight of his career.  Still he is worth many crores and reportedly his $1.2 million-per-year contract with Coca-Cola is worth more than most IPL players' entire salaries. Dhoni and now Virat Kohli are busy signing many more contracts.

This year when Forbes released its list of highest earning athletes, it was 37-year-old Tiger Woods with  $78.1 million being No. 1, followed by Tennis star Roger Federer at $71.5 million. Sachin Tendulkar was 51. Interestingly there were only three women in the top 100,  led by Tennis ace Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, and  China’s Li. The great Indian icon Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was far behind Tiger Woods  with earnings of $31.5 million and was at 16th place. .   Last year it was boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. nicknamed “Money” who was no. 1 ~ and he fought only twice in the previous 12 months spending less than one hour in the ring !!! So athletes earn more … and get richer more by endorsements !!!!!

Most of us followed the London Olympics in 2012.  More than 10,000 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated. A total of 85 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) won medals, 54 of those countries winning at least one gold medal. The United States finished at the top of the table winning 46 gold medals and winning 104 medals overall. China finished second with 38 gold medals and 88 medals overall;   and hosts  Great Britain came in third place winning 29 gold medals and 65 medals overall.   

India had sent a very large contingent of 83 athletes, 60 men and 23 women, who competed in 13 sports. Men's field hockey was the only team-based sport in which India had its representation ~ and London proved lucky too…. being India's most successful Olympics in terms of total medal tally, having won a total of 6 medals (2 silver and 4 bronze).  STOP……

There was another sporting event ……the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games was a sporting event held in June – July 2011 at Athens, Greece. "Over 7,500" athletes, from 185 countries, competed in a total of twenty-two sports.  The Special Olympics World Games are an international sporting competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics World Games take place every two years.

Sita Sahu, a 15 year old made India proud by winning a bronze medal each in the 200 and 1600 meter race in 2011 Athens Special Olympics. There were two Cinderella moments in Sita's life. First she accompanied seven other kids to the CM  Shivraj Singh Chauhan's residence for tea with the chief minister. Less than a month later, came the crowning glory when she returned home on July 6, 2011 from Athens with two bronze medals -in 200 metres and 1,600 metres- from the special Games.

In April this year, she was in news for wrong reasons ….. she was struggling to make ends meet and was selling `gol gappas ’ in the streets.  Yes, sad enough, she was working in a roadside eatery in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.  Reports suggested that this winner of 2 medals was in dire straits.  Sita's mother was quoted as saying that they were very poor and her husband is also not keeping well. "So we have been to forced to sell the chaat and other eatables.  It was the sad news official neglect  stopping the 15-year-old athlete's promising career in tracks. Usha Sahu, Sita's trainer and teacher from Rewa,  was sad too to see her protege's potential going waste.

The silver lining was that the Social justice minister said neither the girl nor her parents ever met him but he came to know of her plight from the media reports.   Then came the news of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan  sanctioning  Rs one lakh to Seeta Sahu of Rewa.  The State Govt acted swiftly with Chouhan announcing financial assistance. Congress general secretary, Digvijay Singh was swift enough to criticize the Govt and spoke of assurance from the centre.  

Intellectual disability, also known as general learning disability, (previously known as mental retardation), is a generalized disorder characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors that appears before adulthood.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st Nov. 2013

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