Shooter Heena Sidhu Slams Shobhaa De For Calling Athletes ‘Waste Of Money’ On Twitter

Posted on August 10, 2016 in Specials

By Saswati Chatterjee

So the Rio Olympics just reached their fifth day and amid all the tough competition (it’s the Olympics, after all!) Shobhaa De chose to bemoan the lack of medals procured by the Indian athletes, specifically choosing to target the ‘waste of money and opportunity’.

Never mind the fact that the number of athletes from India is the biggest so far (121 athletes) as well as the fact that training for the Olympics is no mean feat. Take for example, the case of the 2004 Athens Olympics where the Indian team had to train to learn to acclimatize themselves to the city.

Shobha De’s ill thought out comments regarding the Indian athletes have found a fitting reply in ace pistol shooter, Heena Sidhu. Sidhu is the first Indian to be ranked World No. 1 in pistol shooting and in a string of tweets, takes De down a peg or two while pointing out that sports, with the exception of cricket, is mostly still neglected in India and rather than bemoaning the lack of medals, maybe it’s time we take a look at the circumstances under which our players have to struggle, especially women players.

Other players also came out strongly against De’s statements, including shooter Abhinav Bindra whom De called a ‘champion’, actor Gul Panag and radio jockey Meera Damji, who pointed out that we should celebrate the spirit of athletes who overcame such odds to participate in the Olympics.

While it is true that some of the top players are out, it does not take away from their dedication and hard work, as well as the dedication of remaining players. Sports isn’t recognized only by medals, we must also recognize the efforts the players themselves put in. And as Heena Sidhu puts it so succinctly, if we want to see more success, maybe it’s time we start giving sports more attention.