Tuesday, 25 November 2014

On Athletics Meet

Athletics Meet for the 89th Foundation Course, Mussoorie, was an unqualified success. Kudos to the organizing team, a fresh set of faces, and the athletes for a grand show. The event was stretched over two days so as to cover events such as 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m races, 4X100 m relay, 4X400 m relay, javelin, discus, shot put, high jump, long jump, tug of war, spoon race, three legged race, wife carrying race, horse race and rat race. At least few of these events are fictitious.

The athletics meet showcased the athletic talent of the batch. There was enthusiastic participation in most events. Some of it was necessitated by the word 'compulsory,' an admonitory, authoritative term that is applied to most rules made by bureaucrats, as I am coming to realize now. However, the participation was also driven by peer pressure or inspiration. The sight of a fellow OT manhandling a shot put or a javelin aroused the competitive instincts in onlooker OTs and compelled them to try their hand at sports, often in many cases for the very first time in their lives. Never mind the 10,000 hours of practise that Malcolm Gladwell talks of, never mind the quarter that needs to be given to one's age. One was content getting coached by videos from Youtube. Another factor was at play too, related to competitive spirit of the OTs. Many of them were competing against themselves more than with others. They wanted to see how far they can throw or how fast they can run, an assessment of their bodies and to satisfy the doubt if their ships would hold fast till the journey completes.

The OTs would never forget the singular sight of a gentleman OT flying towards the finish line, only puffs of dust at intervals of 2 metres on the track to hint that he was in fact running, not flying. If there is any one event that defined the athletics meet, an event that shall be remembered for a long time to come, it was the 100 m race. The performance of a gentleman OT in that race, to be particular. It was a joy to watch the record set by the previous batch being broken by a good margin, it was a joy to watch the athlete, the gentleman OT demonstrate the beauty of the human body. We are all grateful to him for making the athletics meet the most memorable event of the FC. There were few other shining stars, athletes who participated in most other events and bagged medals, including the flying Jharkhandi. Congratulations and thanks are in order to these athletes, sportsmen of first order.

The athletics meet has proven that the civil servants are sound in both mind and body. It is a good sign for the country when its administrators can set new records or at the least challenge themselves and push themselves harder.

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