How many medals do India bring home from the Olympics for its 1.3 billion people at home? This is a big question to ask to the second most populous nation of the world, to the fastest growing economy even surpassing Brazil, to the emerging superpower in space technology. If India does so well in all other fields then why not sports. But, cricket is the one sport which has much fanfare and India is quite successful in many occasions. Most of the Indian kids grow up just trying their hands on the game, but unfortunately neither their parents nor their teachers introduce other sports to them. Indian parents should nurture a mentality to stop their children from opting sports as a career. They want their kids only to become a doctor, engineer, accountant and not an Olympian.
Even the athlete parents don't want their kids to pursue career in sports and this is a major setback. The reasons for this shrewd attitude towards sports are that sportspersons are not funded for their requirements and trainings, they are left at the mercy of crowd funding, and sportspersons from other sports apart from cricket do not earn much in India. Instead of practicing for the game our players have to approach private companies to sponsor them. Dipa Karmakar, only Indian gymnast to qualify in 36 years from India had to be dependent on crowd funding for her training and tournaments.
India lacks much behind to other nations in providing the world class infrastructure matching international standards. India has only one Formula1 Race course that too it got a few years back. None of the table tennis stadium in India is of international standards.
The fund crunch in the sports sector is the major problem same is manifested in lack of excellent coaches to train our athletes. Most of our sportspersons have to make use of nature's settings to brush up their skills instead of having a well-planned stadium or court. Indians have a large basket of sports to choose from like Himalayas can help to nurture many winter sports, peninsular India can help inculcate water sports, thus a proper help from government's part is needed.
India's major population has low economic status hence many children have lack of nutrition and access to basic amenities. This may hinder the growth of new budding athletes within them. Therefore, the Indian government has a long way to go in order to reap fruitful benefits in the field of sports. The talent has to come from the masses, if the future generations are nurtured well.
In order to build a sporting India, there is a much needed on the part of the government to pull the talented kids in the arena and also parents shall play their role to let children free to choose their career even if its sports. In fact, schools curriculums shall be modified to provide due weightage to sports. One notable example is Mission XI Millions for FIFA, which is a sport's quota implemented in certain colleges for admission. Such schemes are laudable by government. Hope these small steps by the concerned people helps to bring home large number of medals from the Olympics, commonwealth games and other world tournaments.
- Rohini Singh