Les perdants olympiques de l’Inde

NEW DELHI – Tandis que le monde attend l’ouverture des Jeux olympiques de Pékin, beaucoup se demandent si cette grande fête, qui marquera les débuts dans le monde de la Chine, sera aussi pour elle l’occasion de ravir aux États-Unis le titre de pays le plus médaillé. Beaucoup estiment que les sérieux athlètes chinois ont des dizaines de médailles d’or et d’argent à leur portée. Qu’ils dépassent les États-Unis ou non, en tout cas, une chose est sûre : l’Inde, voisine et rivale géopolitique régionale de la Chine, aura de la chance si elle remporte ne serait-ce qu’une seule médaille.

Les compétitions sportives internationales sont, évidemment, un exercice indirect de chauvinisme. Nous prétendons tous d’une façon ou d’une autre regarder les jeux pour la beauté de l’athlétisme. Pourtant, aucun d’entre nous ne peut nier l’attirance exercée par les drapeaux sous lesquels les athlètes entrent en compétition, par l’hymne joué pour les vainqueurs et, à la fin, par ce décompte des médailles, sans cesse mis à jour et impossible à ignorer, qui décline l’or, l’argent et le bronze remportés par chaque pays, véritable liste honorifique des Jeux.

Tout Indien qui suit les Jeux a fait la grimace devant la liste des médailles attribuées quotidiennement, les yeux parcourant les noms de dizaines de pays, petits et grands, avant de s’arrêter enfin sur le nom d’un Indien solitaire, vainqueur d’une médaille de bronze en tennis ou en lutte. Pire encore, nous avons tous connu la honte d’attendre, jour après jour, que l’Inde apparaisse sur la liste tandis que des pays cent fois plus petits que nous reçoivent médaille d’or sur médaille d’or et que les athlètes indiens sont à peine mentionnés parmi les autres concurrents.

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