Sport is much more than narrow nationalism. Any sportsperson who has represented the country knows what it takes to defy odds and overcome obstacles in the face of still opposition. It’s all about determination and passion.
There are instances in sports when respecting your opponent is more important than winning. Such moments leave more memories than accomplishments in the field of play.
Such an incident happened at the 2014 Asian Games when India and Iran faced off in the final of women’s kabaddi.
The stakes were quite high, perhaps more so for India. But even in those nerve-wracking, thrilling moments, what the Indian team did would go on to become one of the biggest talking points that showed that there is more to life than just winning ruthlessly.
One of the Iranian raiders had her hijab displaced. She was clearly in discomfort as it was part of her culture to wear a hijab. With her focus disturbed she could have easily trapped by the opponents.
But then a beautiful thing happened. The Indians chose to help her cover her face and put the hijab back in place.
It was that one gesture that spoke a million words and warmed countless hearts. In the race to finish first, we sometimes forget to show respect to the opponent and this was one of those acts that reminded us that humanity is above all.
It was a great gesture by the Indian team and they eventually went on to win the clash 31-21. But more than the win, it was that moment of show of humanity which won the hearts of those watching.