In an unequal world of Commonwealth Games

By Vijay Badhwar

This is the 5th time Australians are hosting the Commonwealth Games. But they are not great hosts, neither towards the visiting teams nor towards overseas visitors, simply not having even the minimal trait of Asian humility to make them welcome. Rather, their mannerisms are perceived as abrasive, even threatening, as the ether reverberates with overly loud announcements of finding needles, illegal visitors and what won’t be tolerated.

Nothing wrong about the message; it’s the way it’s said, in the tone of a superior to an underling, not humbly, but bluntly.

At the Gold Coast it’s reflected in the stands that remain empty, the shops without customers. Many are ready to pull their shutters down in the absence of the large crowds they had expected. May be the show is meant solely for local consumption as all the news, too, is from the pool where their dominance is unchallenged.

Why, after all, so many medals (60) in water which majority of Commonwealth nations do not have enough even to drink, what for play! Four types of swimming strokes (what’s so different if both arms move simultaneously, or one at a time!) are each loaded with medals when, in comparison, medals in walking/running, track and field are so wanting. The swimming events are so similar that some winners win multiple medals ”“ five or more ”“ multiple times, quite uncommon in other events.

There are many medals (10) on bi-cycles, too, which cost upward of $50,000 each, to mark the starkness of the rulers from those ruled.

It’s time that the former colonies have a voice to include some events of their choice, performances in the true Olympic spirit that celebrate human body than the riches.

The subtext of Commonwealth Games is a reminder of the colonial rule from a bygone era – of the famines and atrocities and the plundering of wealth from the colonies. The Games are nothing more than a time to show-off, that, too, in a format that is skewed and manipulated.



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