Sports undoubtedly are the most important way to remain healthy and active, and they also serve as a medium to achieve good education, equality in all forms, thus they are crucial for overall development. It represents the stout citizen of a nation. Legion numbers of sports competition are held all over the world at district, state, national and international levels where players represent their countries for different categories of sports. IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Paralympics’ Games, World Cup Cricket and the list is endless. Recently Olympics were held in London from 27th July to 12th august 2012 with a phenomenal theme “Inspire a generation”. Around, 204 nations participated in this historic and colossal event with a total of 10,820 athletes participated from all over the world in 26 categories.
India first participated in Olympics in 1900 in Paris. The country was represented by Norman Pritchard, an Anglo Indian who was holidaying in Paris during that time. The Indian Olympic Association is responsible for the preparation and participation of sportspersons in the Olympic Games as well as in regional events like Commonwealth and Asian Games. There is a separate federation at national level for each game/sport which assists the Indian Olympic Association.
|Rank by Gold||Country||Gold||Silver||Bronze||Total|
|1||United States of America||46||29||29||104|
|2||People’s Republic of China||38||27||23||88|
Competing in Olympics is an arduous task as there are well trained athletes from all over the world. Sports persons from the second most populated nation, India have failed to perform well in Olympics so far, even London Olympics couldn’t bring the expected laurels for the country.
From the above result London Olympic 2012; we know that India is placed at 55th position. Indian government provides facilities for training, infrastructure, money, aid, etc. but these are not sufficient enough to produce winners at the international level. It is bitter reality that adequate facilities are still not in place. Even if sufficient monetary compensation is provided to the players, it wouldn’t suffice, as the need of the hour is a world class infrastructure for every sport. So, if we take our analysis further we will find that no attention has been paid to what the players really need? What is the reason behind their poor performance? Why are we lagging behind? Where is the fault?
Innumerable talented players are there from different states for example, Pushpa is just 12 years old and is part of Manipur’s next generation of sporting powerhouse but her dream to be a world champion like many other Manipuri sportsperson such as boxer M C Mary Kom, may get shattered because of inadequate facilities. In a recent interaction with one of the mediapersons, she said “I want to be a champion, please help”. If we go through the news of the recent past, the Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken has been quoted as saying “There is no coach and the sports equipments are also very old in Imphal”.
Venku Rani complained that her dream of being an international squash player may not materialize as there is no squash court in entire Manipur. Roshan, another girl, did not like sharing her hostel with boys.
Several athletes have complained about officials fixing match results, bribing players, selecting national teams based on ethnicity. Most sports administration heads are politicians or bureaucrats. We saw cost overruns, graft investigations and construction delays even when Delhi hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Indian players are performing well indeed. But they are unable to compete with countries like China, USA etc. This is because even in Indian education system the required importance is not given to sports. Only a few students show their interest in sports because many sportspersons are fighting for their bread and butter. And also, some of the sports are only in reach of the higher classes, as poor people find them far away to reach.
The perseverance should be the main spirit of sports in a vast country like India, but we are lacking it too. Nevertheless government provides money for amenities for the athletes but whether it reaches them or not is a big question mark. A plethora of reasons are there like lack of infrastructure, inadequate training facilities, insufficient sponsorship for sports, coaching and training avenues are not properly maintained, extrinsic factors like popularity of sports, the recognition it entailment. Many a times it happens that all recognition, all glory that goes through sports is again appropriated by cricket only. And this leaves the other sports in totally incongruous level for the competitions. Internal policies also affect a players’ carrier, as often they don’t get enough support. Indian coaches are insufficient to guide the players and prescribing proper diet to athletes to encourage their performance. Since the Sports Authority of India (SAI) does not pay well its coaches and does not maintain proper infrastructure in their premises across India, coaches tend to show no interest towards the sport and the sportsman. There is corruption in every field and sports are no exception. Whatever money is released for training and equipment is diverted towards the pockets of the officers and politicians. What can be done to improve this immoral situation?
In spite of all the odds, there are highly motivated sports persons in India who give more than 100% and try to bring glory to the nation. There definitely are players who perform exceptionally well at the International sporting events like Olympics. But there is an urgent need that the Central and State governments work together for sports development. Proper efforts through integration of various schemes at the national and regional level are required. There should be corrections in existing regional imbalance in sports infrastructure in the country and within the States. Channelizing of funds distribution and scrutiny should be done without any delay or fault. Furniture for hostel and mess facilities, nutritious and balanced diet, sports coaches, equipments, medical aid and insurance, administrative and catering staff, electricity, water are all essential for proper development of sports in the country. Along with this, Play field, Indoor hall, Swimming pool for day-to-day training is imperative for producing good players. With all these in place and the zeal to excel in all fields India can create miracles in the years to come.