India needs to invest more in Olympic sports

Our readers have their say on India's Tokyo exploits, the Taliban surge in Afghanistan and politics in Iran

Indians in Siliguri celebrate Neeraj Chopra's gold medal win in the men's javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics. AFP

I write in reference to the article Neeraj Chopra wins javelin title for India's first Olympic track and field gold (August 7): the feelings of both joy and disappointment are palpable across India after the Tokyo Olympics. I have never seen my compatriots this interested or invested in the Games, with so many following the live coverage of the competitions India's athletes were involved in. Many were touched by the scenes of our women hockey players sinking to their knees and crying after losing to Great Britain in the bronze medal match. This mass involvement across the country is heartening to see. Among other things, it will encourage more youngsters to take up Olympic sports.

It is also encouraging to see the medal winners being rewarded and compensated by governments at various levels and by private institutions. Chopra has even been felicitated by the Indian Army’s Rajputana Rifles. He has earned it. For a country of 1.3 billion people, however, we should be winning more than seven medals. There has been steady improvement and, hopefully, governments across the country will allocate more funds and support towards training and infrastructure for our athletes.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai

Can Afghanistan survive without external support?

I write in reference to Thomas Harding's article West is losing the 'Great Game’ for Afghanistan (August 10): it is disheartening to see how quickly one Afghan province after another is falling to the Taliban. The withdrawal of US-led troops from the country after a two-decade-long presence will, quite naturally, have a destabilising effect. The speed with which the pull-out is happening has been bad for the morale of the Afghan forces and many civilians. At the same time, many have taken up the cause of protecting their cities and people against the Taliban surge. The question, however, is whether these brave people can meet the challenge with so little external support. That remains to be seen.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru, India

Keep the pressure on Iran

I write in reference to your Iran coverage. The West should continue to tighten the screws on the regime. They are on their knees financially. Former US president Donald Trump had the right formula for dealing with them: maximum pressure. The Iranians are hoping to provoke a military response so that they can fight America, who they call the "Great Satan", and take their own population's mind off their failing policies at home – a standard ploy. We should not buy into it. Economic disruption, not military escalation, should be the policy.

Andy Preston, Abu Dhabi

Published: August 12th 2021, 4:00 AM