The other day my brother called up. “Delhi’s going to host the Winter Olympics,” he joked. But for the people who take decisions on such matters in India might quite possibly be thrilled at the idea.
And a few days later I read that Delhi would be the official host of the 2010 Men’s Hockey World Cup.
I don’t have anything against Delhi, after all I have been living here for almost half-a-decade now and have started to identify myself with the city.
But then it isn’t a nice experience to be a citizen of a single-city nation. To the outside world it would seem that there is only one city in the 32,87,263 sq km area of the country – Delhi or more specifically New Delhi.
Isn’t it already enough that the city has already hosted the first ever Asian Games in 1951 followed by the 1982 edition and now the Commonwealth Games in 2010?
In between there was some unsuccessful bids to play the hosts for yet another international sporting event. And now there are plans to bid for the biggest of them all – The Olympics in 2020.
This one-city focus isn’t found in many of the countries of the world. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Incheon before it beat Delhi in the race to the 2014 Asian Games.
If we look at the Asian Games, South Korea got the opportunity thrice to host it and only the first (1986) was in the capital Seoul, the subsequent events went to Busan (2002) and Incheon (2014). The 2010 Asiad will be held in Guangzhou and not Beijing.
Amongst the 20 cities that have/will hosted/host the Commonwealth Games (in its different forms) only four are country capitals (and this includes Delhi). And as many as 10 of the host cities of the Olympic Games weren’t the cities where the seat of the government resided.
Such international events provide a tremendous potential to overhaul the entire infrastructure of the city. The city of Delhi has been fortunate enough to have good facilities (compared to other cities in the country), that has been augmented by the Asian Games and now the Commonwealth Games. Don’t other cities in the country deserve an opportunity to make things better for its residents? Why do we need to be concentrated only to the National Capital?
Before you point it out, Hyderabad did host the inaugural Afro-Asian Games in 2003 and the 2007 Military World Games, but they were comparatively inconsequential.
There is an India beyond the periphery of the NCR. Our media is partially blind to the fact (partially because they at least see the other metros). And to our sports administrators… get a phacoemulsification done.