India

Indian media: Analysing the Games

India's Kashyap Parupalli celebrates after winning his badminton gold medal Image copyright AFP
Image caption India's Kashyap Parupalli celebrates after winning his badminton gold medal

Media are analysing India's participation in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow that ended on Sunday, with some blaming the country's sports officials for what they see as a "lacklustre performance".

Indian athletes went home with 64 medals, 15 of which were gold. Four years ago, however, when the games were held in Delhi, they won almost twice as many - a record 101 medals with 38 golds.

"From an overall perspective, India slumped, not unexpectedly, to the fifth place in the medals tally from its second spot in the New Delhi Games though there were handsome contributions from the shooters, wrestlers and weightlifters," says The Hindu.

It recalls that four years ago, sports administrators in India had faced corruption charges "that startled the country". "Today, following the modest success by the Indian contingent, the sports administrators are once again the butt of ridicule," the daily comments, recalling the arrest of two Indian sports officials in Glasgow over the weekend.

Indian Olympic Association secretary general Rajeev Mehta and wrestling referee Virinder Malik were detained over alleged assaults but were later released. The prosecution decided there should be no proceedings against Mr Mehta, while it is believed that Mr Malik was released after being issued with a fine or warning.

According to The Times of India, there's a perception that the country has a "decrepit sports system where administrators are only interested in freeloading and end up bringing disrepute through their conduct, as two officials have done at Glasgow".

The paper writes that India's "lacklustre showing" was its "worst performance at the quadrennial sporting event in terms of gold medals won since 1998".

"Much of the assets created in 2010 haven't been utilised properly, while funding for athletes through the public-private partnership route provided incremental returns," says The Times of India. It points out that "the root cause of the malaise, however, is Indian sports officialdom". "As long as sports federations remain cesspools of politics and nepotism, the interests of Indian athletes will continue to suffer," the daily argues in its editorial.

"Punish spoilsports who hurt India's Glasgow glory," the Hindustan Times calls in a headline. But the paper thinks that the incidents with the two Indian sports officials in Glasgow "must not cast a shadow over India's otherwise inspiring performance" at the games.

"Even though the numbers will pale in comparison to the 101 medals that the country won in 2010, the 2014 tally is still encouraging," it points out.

English language skills

Meanwhile, the Indian government has recommended that candidates should not be tested for English skills when they apply for a job in the civil services after street protests by aspirants.

"Government is of the opinion that in the civil services preliminary examination, Paper II, the marks of the question section on 'English language comprehension skills' should not be included in gradation or merit," Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh told parliament.

Protesters claim the English language section in the civil service exam discriminates against students from rural areas and those with a non-science background.

The Times of India, however, feels that basic knowledge of the English language is important and criticises the government for relenting under pressure.

"Political expediency has sadly triumphed over common sense... Besides, in India English is the link language," says the paper.

And finally, the Airports Authority of India (AAI ) has asked airports across the country to screen passengers for Ebola in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines, reports say.

"Banagalore's Kempegowda International Airport was one of the first off the blocks and started screening international passengers since AAI issued the order," The Times of India reports.

The viral illness has resulted in the death of over 800 people in West Africa, according to the UN.

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