How many of us think that had blaming others had been the sports in Olympics India would have been the table toppers, I guess all of us but unfortunately it isn’t. We just keep on dreaming and waiting for an Indian player to win Augusta masters or Indian team reaching FIFA finals but seldom forget that dreams need “a path” to fulfill those goals and that path needs a foundation which we all know is missing.
Its painful to see an Indian player falling short not because he lacks the will but because he is often the victim of poor resources at his peril. Its unthinkable that an Indian player can’t jump further, throw further, or run faster. They can but “the path” to strong foundation has to be laid.
What can be done?
Perplexity of Parents and Indian Elites
The most important factor is that sports in India is a premium not a part and parcel of life. Indian elites are generally and fundamentally anti sport because success in sports is worth it only if one is competing at international level. Henceforth parents look towards a secure future where risk is less and return is good in form of engineering, doctorates. But we often forget that it’s not a stock market where commodities are traded considering risk and returns but it’s the child’s potential which needs to be nurtured, again its easier said than done. In realty how, many parents will send their children to Gopichand’s Academy to play and learn. So, what we need is to incorporate sports in curriculum and have grading system for it. Bring that perspective backed by teachers to appreciate students who enroll for sports.
Acceptance of Mistakes
Problems are plenty and suggestions many but important is what we can do to give our athletes the support which they need because its shameful to know that our athletes are competing and they don’t have the necessary medical facilities and training without proper equipment. Its shocking to see trainers coaching future swimmers to practice in damp dirty water with lizards and insects.
The fundamental question should why do we fail at international level and that blame should be shared across the spectrum residing across corporate India across government and all other stakeholders. If the mistakes are accepted it will have a dynamo impact on society which will be more accepting and transparent.
Change the Mood
The mood is changing but it’s the authority that is not changing fast enough. Sports is still secondary as we complete our homework and then we are entitled to go and play. But it’s heartening to know how a win can lift up the spirits of everyone. Even for the village and state a medal can upswing the mood and its considered to be the pinnacle of the success and it might have a catalytic effect on others. Haryana is just setting a bar in this category.
Infra is the key
How many wrestling halls are there in India? The important thing is we have long summers. A wrestler sweating in AC rooms can practice longer if not he will tire in 30 minutes. And it’s as Indian as sport and we have winning medals in this since Kedar Jadhav’s. Improve infrastructure has to be the key.
Duty has to be deducted
Reduce import duties on sports material they do have a big impact on any sportsperson, reason being India major achievements and contributions have come from players who belong to small towns and cities every time we can’t expect to produce a Saina Nehwal who will tie a rope and use it as a net. The concomitant opportunities have to be created by reducing the import duties.
We also need to realize that we Indians are built as a race to compete in sports which has got paramount angle of power, strength and fast twitched muscles. We have got so little butter and we are spreading it so thin due to which a sport which does have a chance to win is deprived of. We can win where hand eye coordination like hockey in we used to win as long as it was played on grass. Athletics and swimming will take its own time and won’t happen overnight. So anyhow its better to be more pragmatic and set realistic examples for us and “that path” which we all are waiting for.
It’s not bad to be a marketer
Marketing has that power to bring out a sport from the realms of loneliness. Look at Kabaddi now people forgot it used to exist. But Pro kabaddi with a right mix of celebrity players and investors did manage to make a million people watch it on television. What’s important here is that people may give the benefit of cricket as a religion to be the reason for IPL’s roaring success but here the right marketing brought a lost sport to limelight.
Increase the coverage of sports. Market the image of our players whether it’s through sharing their videos and their success stories so that common people can relate to their superstars.
By: Deep Chaudhary