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Dictatorship and sports: After North Korean dictator now Robert Mugabe vents his anger at Zimbabwe's Rio Olympic athletes
Just a few days ago, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un had reportedly threatened his non-medal-winning Rio Olympic athletes to be moved to coal mines and made to work there. And now in a latest development, Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has ordered his country's non-performing Rio athletes to be arrested.

Well, while these punishments might sound a little steep to most of us, the only thing that is almost certain is that dictators will be dictators. Once a dictator, always a dictator. They never change even though they might come from different cultures or ethnic backgrounds. They remain absolutely identical in all their tyrannical and bigotrical correctness. The world has seen plenty of them, right from Adolf Hitler to Kim Jong-un. But, has anything changed with them? Absolutely nothing. All they have ever done is to suppress criticism and obtrude their personal ideologies on people. Correct or not, what difference does it make?

While the people of India are still debating upon how to improve our performance at the Games, these dictators it seems have got it all figured out. Well, at least that's what they (dictators) think!

North Korea had set an advance target of 5 gold medals and 12 other medals even before their contingent left for Rio. Well, it sounds more like planning a routine nuclear missile launch North Korea is so famous or rather infamous for.

Nevertheless, the country's athletes came back with only 2 gold medals, 3 silvers and 2 bronzes. But, surprise, surprise! Their contingent was of just 31-athletes. It is mind boggling to note that India sent a contingent of 117 member athletes who came back with just 1 silver and 1 bronze, and still Kim Jong-un is unhappy with his athletes. I wonder what he would have to say on the performance of Indian athletes!

Now, the non-medal winners of North Korea are a worried lot, as they might face the ire of the ruling party.


Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo's Waseda University and an authority on the North Korean leadership said, "Those who won medals will be rewarded with better housing allocations, better rations, a car and maybe other gifts from the regime, but Kim is going to be angry and disappointed at these results."

The Telegraph further quoted him as saying, "Those he feels have let him down are likely to be punished by being moved to poorer quality housing, having their rations reduced and, in the worst-case scenario, being sent to coal mines as punishment."

Although I hope this does not happen, but if it does, it won't be the first time in North Korea. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, after the North Korean team lost to Portugal 7-0 and made an exit from the first round itself, a number of footballers and coaches were either sent to reeducation facilities or ordered to work in mines.

What has made matters ever worse for the North Korean athletes is that bitter rivals South Korea walked away with 21 medals, including 9 golds from Rio. This is something which would have been hard to digest for the North Korean dictator.


Now, coming over to another head of state, Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe and his country's athletes. Angry with his Rio Olympics squad, Mr Mugabe too has jumped the gun. According to the National Transitional Authority, Mugabe met the commissioner general of Zimbabwe police republic and asked him to arrest and detain the entire Zimbabwean Olympics Team as soon as they arrived at Harare International Airport. Thirty one athletes represented Zimbabwe at Rio Olympics but not a single one could finish above the 8th position.

He said, "We have wasted the country's money on these rats we call athletes. If you are not ready to sacrifice and win even copper or brass medals, as our neighbours Botswana did, then why do you go to waste our money."

While in India we continue to shower love and appreciation towards our two Olympic medal winners of Rio, namely PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, punishing athletes seems to be the logical solution for a few heads of states. Maybe, a little rational thinking could help in arriving at a practical solution for winning more medals, rather than harsh punishment that might discourage young children of these two countries form taking up sports in the future.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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