From Beijing Olympics to Indo-Pak series: When politics and sports collided

Written By: Aditya Sahay | Updated: Feb 02, 2022, 06:46 PM IST

Over the years, politics and sports have often collided, making heads turn across the globe. After a Chinese commander was made the torchbearer for Beijing Winter Olympics, here are a few more examples of politics and sports' infamous collision:

Chinese soldier made torchbearer for Beijing 2022

On Wednesday (February 2), Beijing 2022's Torch Relay made heads turn as Chinese state media reported that a People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier, identified as Qi Fabao, was made the torch-bearer. For the unversed, he was also involved in the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash with the Indian Army. 

His participation in the torch rally surely made the headlines, with politics taking a part in the showpiece event.

(Photograph:WION Web Team)

India tour Pakistan in 2004 after 15-long years due to political tension

Sourav Ganguly-led India toured Pakistan in 2004 after 15-long years on the back of Indo-Pak political tension. Back then, Team India had not visited their arch-rivals for a long time due to the armed-conflict over the long running dispute regarding the sovereignty of Kashmir. It was a historic tour, where thousands of Indians travelled to the neighbouring country to watch the proceedings.

Ganguly-led India returned victorious, winning the five ODIs 3-2 and three Tests 2-1. Thus, politics played a huge role in keeping the tour at bay for long before it finally went ahead in early 2004. Since the Mumbai terror attacks in late 2008, both sides meet each other in multi-nation or ICC events due to the political tension among the two countries.


Munich massacre in 1972 Summer Olympics

The 1972 Summer Olympics, in Munich, remains a dark event in the world of sports. A member of the Arab Commando group, Black September, seized and killed as many as 11 members of the Israel's Olympic Team at the Olympic Village in Munich on September 5 and 6. He appeared with a hood over his face on the balcony of the village building, where the commandos held several members of the Israeli team hostage.

It all went out of hand from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which hogged headlines back then.


MS Dhoni's dagger logo from keeping gloves create huge ruckus

During the 2019 ODI World Cup, MS Dhoni's keeping gloves created a huge controversy. The former Indian captain's gloves in Men in Blue's opening game against South Africa bore an apparent military insignia, breaching the rules laid down by the International Cricket Council. As ICC turned down BCCI's request to accept the gloves, Dhoni had to take the field without the dagger logo on his gloves. 

This led to a huge controversy on television news channel, politicising the whole row as trends such as #DhoniKeepTheGlove started doing the rounds on Twitter.


Afghanistan tour of Australia affected due to Taliban crisis

After the Taliban regime took over Afghanistan in mid-2021, this led to a huge crisis in the troubled country. A reported ban on women's cricket in the central Asian country, due to the Taliban policies, led to the senior men's cricket team's historic tour of Australia getting cancelled. 

Cricket Australia said in a statement, "CA is committed to support growing the game for women and men in Afghanistan and around the world, however, given the present uncertainty, CA felt it necessary to postpone the Test match until a later time when the situation is clearer. CA looks forward to hosting Afghanistan players in the BBL this season, who are great ambassadors for the game, and to hosting both the Afghanistan women’s and men’s team in the not too distant future.”