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Not a formula sport

No Formula 1 for India, it has decreed, so go rev up your engines elsewhere. Why pick on Formula 1, you might ask. Elementary, dear lover of elite sports, it is not purely sports, it is entertainment, says the ministry. Lalita Panicker writes.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2009 23:50 IST
Lalita Panicker

The thunder of the powerful Ferrari engines, the smell of burnt rubber, the flash of colour, the tumultuous applause and those steely-eyed men in their speed machines. All this could have been an asphalt track away for us but for our ministry of sports.

No Formula 1 for India, it has decreed, so go rev up your engines elsewhere. Why pick on Formula 1, you might ask. Elementary, dear lover of elite sports, it is not purely sports, it is entertainment, says the ministry. So put that in your exhaust pipe and smoke it.

At the risk of being lynched by F1 lovers, we have to say the ministry has got its priorities right. We need to develop other sports and who better than our officials to do the trick. And, mind you, we have unique methods of developing sports. For a start, we will have none of that pusillanimous mollycoddling our athletes or talent spotting. Our way is to get the potential candidate to make the rounds of various sporting organisations at times when they are not engaged in such exercises as study tours to the Outer Hebrides and beg on bended knee to be given a try.

Okay, that over, the potential sportsperson must show evidence of grit and stamina and see to his own diet and training. As for accommodation, he or she can doss down in those havens provided by the sports authority, never mind that you may be sharing the room with others of your ilk and assorted furry animals. All the better to put some spine into you.

Keeping in mind that our sportspersons are our ambassadors abroad, a little training in etiquette is also imparted. This takes the form of sportspersons serving tea and snacks to visiting officials.

As for F1, it can wait. We are developing our own indigenous version on our roads. This involves far more daredevilry than some namby-pamby like Lewis Hamilton could dream of. To make a death-defying dash past hundreds of motorists on roads which are no more than six feet wide calls for skill, determination and several pithy abuses. Far more entertaining than some clinical F1 where you have to play by the rules. Care for a spin anyone?