Stories about Olympics

India’s ‘Operation Isolation’ and the soft power of sports

“Our message is stronger than ever. Please stop the fighting. Please stop the killing. Please drop your guns.” Juan Antonio Samaranch, President International Olympic Committee speaking at the Winter Olympics, 1994. The sports arena has often been used in modern-day diplomacy to advocate for peace, but it has also been used to aggravate existing conflict. George Orwell wrote in The Sporting Spirit (1945) that sports is “war, minus the shooting” and has the potential to bring out the worst characteristics of nationalism. How that is controlled, or even amplified, is in the hands of those who hold the political controls.  In the days following ...

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A Kabaddi World Cup without Pakistan is like a football world cup without Brazil

And here we go again.  Or not go, to be precise in this particular case. The Kabaddi World Cup was just a couple of days away from kickstarting and yesterday the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) announced that Pakistan has been barred from competing in the event. Do I need to mention the reason? Well, for those living on Mars and completely oblivious to what is happening in their neighbouring planet, the on-going escalation in the tension between the Asian neighbours, Pakistan and India, has resulted in this unfortunate exclusion of our national team. A major event for the sport, the World Cup ...

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Champions League Matchday 1: Aye, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride

Even with a summer full of riveting international soccer contests with the Euro and the Olympics, being a Liverpool fan, nothing beats the good old start to the English Premier League (EPL). And if EPL is the cake then UEFA Champions League is surely the cherry atop this delicious offering. Unfortunately for me, this year is yet another in the long list of seasons this past decade that I would have to do without this particular footballing condiment. But hey, counting your blessings and all that shizz, I still get to cheer on former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and his band of merry men at Barca. And ...

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Paralympics 2016 – Beside and beyond

Para-   (parə/), prefix.     Beside; Beyond. For me personally, the Paralympic Games, that kickstarted last week on Wednesday, promise to be an even greater celebration of sporting excellence than the Olympics itself. Brazilian Paralympic swimmer Clodoaldo Silva lights the flame during the opening ceremony at 2016 Rio Paralympics.Photo: Reuters The event as the name suggests takes place ‘beside’ the Olympic Games, but as far as I am concerned it goes ‘beyond’ them, considering what the particular group of participating athletes achieve during the course of this quadrennial contest. With the sort of world we live in, the Paralympians, ...

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Does Britain still have a colonial mind-set?

Britain, at the peak of its global reach, ruled over 1/3rd of the world and so it comes as no surprise that an element of colonial nostalgia secretly exists amongst Brits today. Following a rapturous Olympics outcome, various British celebrities and sports personalities made subtle hints to the days of the Empire on Twitter. Now that's what I call winning!!! Well done Team GB & all our Commonwealth friends, now for the Trade Agreements…. pic.twitter.com/Qg9qkYxWHp — Heather Wheeler MP (@HeatherWheeler) August 22, 2016 It could also be said that one of the reasons behind Brexit was the desire to return Britain to its former legacy of being a ...

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Why countries in the subcontinent continue to fare poorly at the Olympics

The performances of athletes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who took part in the Olympics continued to be dismal. While India has managed to win 28 medals since its independence, Pakistan has managed only 10. Sri Lanka lags even further behind with just two medals. Bangladesh has never managed to win any. Even a comparatively smaller country like South Korea, which has a population of only 50 million, has managed to win 21 medals at Rio 2016. Athletes from Thailand and Malaysia also performed relatively better. India, a country with a 1.3 billion population and a $2 trillion economy, mustered only two medals at the Rio Olympics. Michael Phelps, the ace swimmer from the ...

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The why, how, who and what of the Russia doping scandal

If you are a typical sports fan, who only gets his competitive kick by watching cricket and football, then I am pretty sure you wouldn’t have noticed that Russia is about to be banned from competing in the forthcoming Olympics. They haven’t been barred as yet, but all the signs are pointing toward them not being there. With approximately two weeks until the Rio Games open on August 5th, the fallout from a series of revelations of state-sponsored doping in Russian sport has caught many by surprise. It might have been a bombshell for some, but it wasn’t shocking at ...

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If that was my kid, I’d want Harambe killed too

Over the past few days, the incident of a four-year-old boy (who had somehow ended up in a gorilla’s pit at the Cincinnatti Zoo, and where one of the gorillas was shot dead in order to keep the boy safe) has turbulently taken the internet by storm. Countless tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, and articles have been written about the incident; some justifying the killing of the gorilla for the boy’s safety, while others expressing immense outrage, stating that the boy’s mother, Michelle Gregg, was “negligent” and that the gorilla, the beautiful and endangered Harambe, should not have been killed. Curious, I decided to watch ...

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With the Euro and Copa America, this will be a football summer like no other!

This summer is like Eid, Diwali and Christmas rolled into one for all us football fanatics. It’s not just the Euro taking place in France that will the set our pulse racing, but us fans have got a one-off tournament in shape of Copa America Centenario taking place in the American continent to look forward too. Slotted in between the usual four year cycle, the Centennial Copa America is scheduled to celebrate the 100 years of South American football competition that started off in 1916. Chile won the Copa America for the first time on Saturday when ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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