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May 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         May 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:May' 2018


Stealing the show


Neeraj Chopra India's haul of 66 medals – 26 golds, 20 silvers and as many bronzes – at last month's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games has bought about a feel-good mood in the country. Newspapers have gone to town with editorials in glowing praise of our contingent's performance, and employers like the Railways and the Army have put in expensive ads drawing the nation's attention to the medals won by athletes employed by them.
Outdoing all in this public relations exercise has been the Haryana government which has paid for fullpage ads proudly announcing, and justifiably so, that athletes, both male and female, from the state, which has just a little over 2 per cent of the country's population, have accounted for as many as 22 medals – 10 gold, 6 silver and as many bronzes. Besides India's tally, Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa are above Haryana's tally.
The proudest moment for Haryana at the April 4-14 Gold Coast CWG was the day when the young Panipat-born Neeraj Chopra, a world junior champion, won the javelin throw with a heave of 86.47 metres. Now training under Uwe Hohn, the German who is only person to have thrown the javelin over 100 metres – 104.80 metres to be more precise, Chopra is India's brightest track and field prospect in a long time. With the Gold Coast CWG now behind him, India is now expecting from him the Asian Games gold medal later this year at Jakarta.
The performances of our athletes have ensured that we have stayed steady at the third spot in the medals tally, ahead of countries such as Canada, New Zealand, South Africa! While we should no doubt pat the athletes who have won medals after putting in a lot of hard work, we also need to be aware that these are just the 'British Empire Games' as they were once called.
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, for example, both Canada and New Zealand had four gold medals each to show for their effort, while South Africa had two and India none. Nonetheless, Indian athletes have shown a clear improvement over the past few years and one hopes the upcoming Asian and Olympic Games will see an improved medals table.

A special medal, please

Leander Paes While all eyes were focused on the Indian c o n t i n g e n t ' s performances in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, behind the nation's backs, so to speak, our Davis Cup tennis players staged a storybook recovery from 0-2 down to defeat China.
There are no gold medals awarded in the Davis Cup, and it would be quite in order if a special one is minted for that most durable of tennis players Leander Paes, who, at 44, made it all possible at Tianjin, China. One remembers the day in 1990 when a 16-year-old Leander made his Davis Cup debut in Chandigarh, where, with Zeeshan Ali as partner, he figured in a victory over the visiting Japanese pair in a closely fought doubles match. That was generations ago when Paes' present team-mates who did duty at Tianjin were not even born. Paes has soldiered on in the cause of India to better the Italian Nicola's Pietrangeli's record of doubles victories in the history on the Davis Cup.
Teaming up with Rohan Bopanna, Paes overcame the Chinese pair of Ze Zhang and Mao Xin Gong 5-7, 7-6, 7-6 in three sets in a match that lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes.