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Debate rages as games got over

The fourth Military World Games ended in a colourful way in Hyderabad on Sunday. A detailed report by Khurram Habib.
Hindustan Times | By Khurram Habib, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON OCT 21, 2007 09:51 PM IST

The fourth Military World Games ended in a colourful way on Sunday. What they will be remembered still remains a guess. And whether it was necessary to spend so much on it (there are different versions about expenses) will be debated for a long time to come. Particularly when you have the officials still asking the world swimming body (FINA) to recognise a world record. The gold medals here shouldn't mean much for India in Olympics -ask Narjeet Singh, one of India's gold medallists - he says, he isn't in the team for the world championships.

The question on expenditure remains outside the purview of sports. What remains within is the fact that we got some Olympic and World championship medal winners all under one roof and that has not happened so far India and is not possible in foreseeable future - particularly, after New Delhi lost the chance to host 2014 Asiad, thereby dampening India's hopes to host Olympics, if there ever was a chance.

On October 17, the President of CISM (world military sport body), Gianni Gola had said over 99 per cent of expenditure was done by CISM for these games. However, here we hear that the centre has given quite a bit of money. Maybe, as an official put it, "there are costs like bringing economically poorer countries here. There are so many expenses".

It is for peace, they said, but Pakistan wasn't there. Big deal? Difficult to comment unless we know the reasons. In fact, about 20-odd CISM member nations weren't there - some of them poor.

People in the streets of Hyderabad were curious to know about the expenditure and its viability though few showed up at the events. The maximum were at the swimming pool - for obvious reasons. There were just about a handful at the athletics stadium. But the closing ceremony seemed like a hit. To be honest, it is tough to analyse it and harsh to criticize it -- because except for cricket, few really care about other sports. Imagine a TV commentator introducing Dmitri Sautin (legend in every possible way) just as an Athens Olympic bronze medallist.

Anyways, we saw some exciting competition no doubt, and it built gradually from a lukewarm beginning. You could see fire on the track and pool, agility in the boxing ring and judo centre, skills in football field and toughness in military pentathlon.

So as the flame was getting extinguished and the curtains were being drawn and the baton was being handed to Rio de Janeiro, and while Raageshwari was singing for the crowd, people were thinking of this new event and whether it will hold.

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