Cable television in our apartment in Delhi may have a hundred channels, but none of them allowed us to view the Rio Olympics. I was gutted. The BBC news showed still photographs of the events, but no action. Trying to watch the coverage on line didn’t work either, with “This video is not available in your region” appearing instead of Mo and Usain doing their thing.

Indians didn’t get very excited about the Olympics until two of their athletes won medals, a silver in the badminton singles and a bronze in the wrestling.

Neither athlete was well known in India prior to their achievement at the Games. As PV Sindhu was winning her silver medal, Google went crazy as people sought more information about her. The top search terms were “PV Sindhu caste”. WTF?

PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik

There were comments about how manly the bronze winning wrestler looked. “With muscles like that, how is she going to get a husband?”

The newspapers were desperate to get background information about the two heroines. Gopichand, Sindhu’s coach, said that he had given her back her mobile phone, after keeping her incommunicado for three months before the Games.

A politician stated that he was going to arrange for Sindhu to get a world-class coach, being convinced that she would then win gold at Tokyo in 2020. He then sheepishly added that she could keep her original coach as well. Perhaps as a time-keeper using the feature on her mobile?

At Gopichand’s shuttlecock academy, he insisted that all the athletes should eat chicken, even the life-long vegetarians. He did this because he felt that eating poultry contributed to the success of  Chinese contestants.

India never fails to amaze me.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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