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Wednesday, 04 August 2021 | Pioneer


Sporting events show us the way to lead a full, meaningful life outside of the playing arena, too

We have grown up hearing “Kheloge kudoge, hoge kharab…”. However, worldly experience has since shown us that the basic sense of humanity stands at a much higher pedestal than education, knowledge and wisdom; also, that it can be gained out of a confined classroom and in spaces as vast and cut-throat as the Olympics. There is nothing more uplifting and inspiring as seeing a person helping a vanquished opponent. Let the body be bruised and defeated, but not the spirit, nor the soul! The latest essay in this life lesson comes from the men’s high jump finals event at the Tokyo Olympics. Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutaz-Essa Barshim gave a gold-worthy performance, clearing 2.39 metres with zero failed attempts. The referee gave them the option for a jump-off, to which Barshim asked if they could share the gold medal (Tamberi had the short straw in the sense that he was injured by then). So they shared not only the yellow metal but also the jubilation of each other’s nation. This was the first time since 1912 that a gold medal was shared in athletics.

Cut to 1936 Berlin Olympics: Silver claimants Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe cut their medals in half to create two new “medals of friendship” of half silver, half bronze. There are moments galore when sportspersons have stopped to lend a shoulder to their crashed competitors. Like this runner at a mega event paused for another runner, who had taken a wrong detour in a marathon and so lost seconds, before following him to the finish line. He could have easily grabbed a medal but he said: “My mother wouldn’t have approved of that.” This is the spirit that the world needs to imbibe, especially in the times of the pernicious COVID-19 virus, when it is important for all to survive for each one of us to live. Nobody can live in isolation. Like the ancient theorem of “vasudhaiv kutumbakam”, we swim together or we sink together; there is no other option, there is no room for greed or upmanship. To sum it up, Tamberi said: “He is one of my best friends, not only on track but outside of it, too. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit, and we are here to deliver this message.” Well said. Let’s go, world!

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