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Friday, 18 May 2012

Beauty and the beast in sports

Sports is a beautiful thing and sporting success is even more wonderful. But what do we do about the spoilsports that always dog the big events?

IT was a crazy night, wasn’t it? Yes, like everybody else, I am talking about last Sunday when the two giants of Manchester and the London upstarts called Queens Park Rangers took us all on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

One minute, City were taking the title with QPR going down; the next, it was United taking the title and QPR staying up – and just when it seemed that all had been settled bar for the drunken celebrations on the red side of the town, everything turned on its head.

And City are the champions and QPR are staying up. Thank God for that — the QPR bit, I mean. I don’t care too much about City being champions although it’s nice to see the Devils off their high-horses for once.

The way the emotions ran that night, I almost wished QPR had just stayed down the season before. It’s just too much excitement for people like me.

And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. But in all that excitement, we all forgot that other big game.

What other big game, you ask?

Well, Sunday was also the day when the national hockey team became Asian champions — for the first time ever, and at any age-level.

It was an achievement we should have been shouting about, a crowning glory for a side that has always been overshadowed by the South Asian giants Pakistan and India and, even the South Koreans. Those pesky Koreans beat us at everything, and it was great to see our boys whip them 6-3 in Malacca.

Now, we have to salute the young juniors who overcame the odds, beat the Indians in the semi-finals and the Pakistanis in the final to bury those old ghosts. And one of the players was still in mourning. His father had died just days earlier.

We also have to salute the coaches, the once-mercurial Minarwan Nawawi (who has never won the title even while playing in a star-studded team) and the ever-steady K. Dharmaraj.

Dharmaraj almost lost his job as coach but survived and went on to this.

Absolutely glorious for him and Minarwan. And it brought back memories of that fantastic fourth place finish in the World Cup in 1975. And we can now dream of greater glory at senior level.

But there always has to be an ugly side.

In Manchester, there was that dumb Joey Barton doing what he did — and after being red-carded!

And on the hockey pitch after Malaysia had become champions, the crowd went crazy. They surged on to the pitch. And guess what? They were not joining the boys in celebrations.

They were stealing the players’ hockey sticks!

Five players lost their sticks and Dharmaraj had to hastily hide his wallet for fear that it may be snatched from him.

What do we do about these crazy goons? It’s a problem that’s been dogging sports for years.

I remember in a veterans’ football tournament in Penang, a spectator came over to ask a winning player if he could take a look at his medal. When the guy handed it over, this young chap coolly walked away with the medal!

When all the other players caught him and forced him to return his medal, he brought a bunch of gangsters to beat up the players.

And they say Barton is a lout.

Talking of controversy dogging sports, that’s exactly what is happening with the next extravaganza we are waiting for. Euro 2012 has gotten ugly.

Ukraine and Poland are jointly hosting Europe’s greatest show. And to make sure it puts a fine face to the visiting world, Ukraine has decided to clear its streets of stray dogs.

So what do the authorities do? They round up the dogs, hit them with poison and then burn them in mobile incinerators.

And there have been claims that the dogs are still alive as they are set alight. It seems the dogs are being hanged as well.

There has been a huge outcry in the Internet. An online petition has been signed by thousands, and many are suggesting that the Euros be taken someplace else — some place where there is not that much cruelty to animals.

And Pamela Anderson is hot — under the collar, that is. The sex bombshell with the now less-than-extra-large chest has written to UEFA president Michel Platini to react to the mass slaughter.

She’s not the first sex symbol to be pained by the killing of dogs.

During the 1988 Olympics and the 2002 World Cup Finals in South Korea, the government had to tell its citizens not to eat dog meat. And butchers were also told not to hang dog carcasses in the windows.
It was Brigitte Bardot who complained then.

> Malaysia has its own dog woes, what with a jogger being killed in an attack and with authorities brazenly killing the animals in many places.

Why Not? By D. RAJ

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Click on the word DOG

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