Thaovei V Soto from Senapati District in Manipur, deserves that cheer as much as the Indian cricket team set to play Australia in World Cup semi-finals in Sydney.
Why? Because Thaovei bagged a gold medal in the first ever World Martial Arts Council Games Festival held in Bangkok, Thailand.
He eliminated his opponent from Uzbekistan in the final, in the 65-70 kgs weight category, having beaten Iran, Kazakhstan and Brazil prior to that.
He may have won us a gold, but we have failed him.
The government couldn’t meet Thaovei’s expenses, so he took aid from friends and the Senapati District Olympic Association in Manipur.
India is a rich country when it comes to cricket, but we make our other athletes beg for funding, as well as recognition. How then, does a Thaovei win us laurels? Do we deserve it at all?
But wait, I’m not going to wash my hands off of my contribution here. While the government may have failed miserably in supporting such talent, we, as media have collectively failed in reporting his stellar story.
While the India vs Australia cricket match tomorrow is absolutely exciting, and completely worth our attention, why is it that we are so completely blind to other forms of sport in the country?
But I suppose it is fair that we didn’t celebrate Thaovei’s victory, after all. Because we aren’t entitled to take pride in his achievements, are we?
The reality is that driven sportspeople like him thrive despite us, not because of us.
The media coverage he has received so far has been nothing short of abysmal. If you were to run a quick search on Google with his name, you would find one mainstream media article about this momentous win. One.
And this Times of India article will inform you that “hundreds of supporters comprising of public leaders, politicians, students, villagers, well-wishers, friends from Senapati district and the valley gathered at Tulihal Airport, Imphal to receive” him.