Sports in India- It’s much more than just Cricket
The basic infrastructure for all the sports (apart from cricket) is nowhere near the international standards. In many foreign countries, sports education, along with decent infrastructure, is provided from the very beginning. But in India, the only Sports period in schools is taken up by a Math teacher.
For example, Cricket is governed by a body that is independent and free from any government influence. On the other hand, Sports Ministry (run by the government) is the primary culprit of India’s poor performance in Olympics. I think ignorance is one of the main reasons why the Indian sports scene is in such shape. It was sad to see Indian Football team captain Sunil Chettri pleading for us to support them.
India has Talent, but no support
In a country which has a population of more than 1.3 billion only 118 sportspeople represented India in Olympics. It was said that was India’s biggest ever contingent in Olympics. Apart from that, sportspeople who represented India neither got the support from the board nor the people. But everyone was ready to criticize them for not getting medals rather than appreciating the efforts they put through all the hardships.
The biggest reason is nothing but the perception of sports as a career among the people. Parents are naturally worried about the ‘future’ of their child. Coaching classes for IIT’s and IIM’s begin from the school itself. So where is the time for sports unless their child is promised those additional 25 marks in the X and XII standard exams if they excelled at the national, state and district level in any sport.
The old saying that, “padoge likhogey toh banogey nawaab, kheloge-kudhogey toh honge kharaab” perfectly sums up the story.
Sports builds Nation
Okay now many of them would want to say that this is not an important issue compared to millions of problems India is facing. But if you think about it, Sports creates the aspiration for self-development and this habit produces a productive citizenry. Success breeds success. Countries that win a lot of medals inspire younger athletes to take up sports, who grow up to be the next generation of medal winners. Also usually means higher government/private funding and a few mentions of your country on world-wide TV.
A good news is that some private sector groups took things seriously and started organising ISL, Pro Kabaddi, Premier hockey league. It would be wrong to blame Cricket for the reasons why other sports are not getting much attention. I’m also a fan of cricket and the Indian Cricket team has also given a lot of things for us to cherish, but what I want to say is India is much more talented than it’s portrayed. With the right amount of support, India can be a sports-dominant country. Let us hope for a better future for India.