- There will not be many who would be enthused greatly or backing full throttle on any matters related to sports getting mixed with the politics or for that matter religion wittingly or unwittingly. Since times immemorial, sporting activities have been accorded tremendous respect and a higher place in the echelons of history for their unquestionable ability to bring together diverse elements irrespective of race, areas, religions, caste, creed, and social standings. On the sporting arena, every individual participating will be presented with a level playing field where none can lay claim to having an edge over the other. There exists neither favoritism nor special treatment but only equality and fair play. Better win the contest is the mantra.
- Humankind is known to embrace sporting activities, including but not restricted to competitive exchanges alone, to strengthen the bond, camaraderie, respect, values, the spirit of accommodation, acceptance, and a generally positive outlook towards each other cutting across man-made boundaries. The quadrennial event like the Olympics emphasizes how sporting events have the power and pull to not only attract different countries to compete under one single umbrella but also facilitates the exhibition of acquired skillsets in various disciplines showcasing the inherent strength and sense of brotherhood binding humans so appreciably.
- Mind you, the history is replete with instances of many countries boycotting the sporting events, the Olympics as well, owing to a variety of reasons varying from animosity, confrontations, war, diplomatic failures, and ostensible one-upmanship triggering uncalled for precipitative moves. Sporting disciplines played in the right spirit have all the ingredients to act as an enabler forging lasting relationships much beyond the realms of political undercurrents. However, there is any number of occasions when two opposing countries completely shearing off ties courtesy array of motives. Alongside diplomatic ties, sporting connections also get invariably entangled.
PC: Cydney Grannan
- Why look far from India and Pakistan as prime examples of the phenomenon that keeps occurring whenever there is a diplomatic fallout following heinous acts of terrorism perpetrated from across the borders resulting in loss of precious lives. People in the know would vouch that any cricketing contests between the two neighbors are one of the marquee events never failing to grab the global audience’s eyeballs for the sheer quality of skillsets on display from both sides. The first casualty on the back of unpleasant situations between the two nations every time is the indefinite suspension of cricketing ties alongside bilateral relations, people contact as well as tourist/pilgrim visits.
- Of course, there cannot be sporting events taking place as if nothing happened when brave soldiers guarding our frontiers are killed using dastardly acts like terrorism as a tool. However, how far this strategy of the indefinite suspension of exchanges will be yielding favorable results vis-à-vis attempting at normalizing the relations is a million-dollar question. Civil society activists and sportspersons are endowed with virtues to soften the blow and assuage the wounded psyche through lively interactions. Would this be enough to compel the powers-that-be to overcome the horrible incidents to resume bilateral relations on an equal keel? Exceedingly hard to move ahead much against the wishes of hawkish elements and opposition baying for the blood.