Bhutia gets little support
- SC slams BCCI over Lodha report: Better fall in line, or we will make you fall in line
- SAARC Summit: Now, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan say they won't be going to Islamabad
- To isolate Pak, India pulls out of Islamabad SAARC summit
- Global competitiveness index: India jumps 16 ranks for second time, now at 39
- Shimon Peres, last surviving link to Israel's founding fathers, dies at 93
Baichung Bhutia's decision to boycott the Olympic torch relay has taken the Indian sports fraternity completely by surprise, with most of them saying on Tuesday that the Indian football captain should not have mixed politics with sports.
Bhutia's move — due to sympathy for the Tibetans opposing the Chinese oppression — has not impressed former 400m runner Milkha Singh, who will be a part of the torch relay to be held in New Delhi on April 17. "I feel that sports and politics should not be mixed," Milkha said.
Also disagreeing with Bhutia were former Davis Cup captain Jaideep Mukherjea, swimmer Bula Chaudhary and former national football player PK Banerjee, who said he would participate in the event despite ill-health. "It's a matter of pride for me that the IOA has invited me for the relay. I'll definitely take part," Banerjee said. "I've got partial paralysis. So, I can't run the total distance. But I can run for at least 100-150m. I shall definitely be in Delhi on April 17 and take part," he added.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has made it clear that it would not persuade Bhutia to reconsider his pull-out, saying it respects the national soccer skipper's "personal decision". IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said from London that there was no point in asking Bhutia to reconsider because the athlete had already made his decision.
But, in the middle of all the disagreements and words of advice, former Olympian Chuni Goswami came out strongly in support of Bhutia. "Baichung has done a great job. He feels for the Tibetans who have been oppressed and persecuted. And he feels all the more about the issue, as he is a Sikkimese and a Buddhist himself," he said.
- Let’s not allow debate about what it means to be Indian to be held hostage to jingoists and bigots
- Shouldn’t weekly off day be a matter of choice, instead of being dictated by law?
- India’s search for alternatives to regional forum must quicken
- Struggle against caste system & capitalism are inextricably linked
- Telescope: Going places
- Power struggle within weakens Samajwadi Party already undergoing an identity crisis in UP