THE STATE OF SPORTS IN INDIA
With a population of 1.24 billion, India managed to bag only 2 medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The total no. of gold medals won by Indian sportsperson are less than the United States swimmer, Michael Phelps, has won alone in a single edition of Olympics. Why do Indians lag behind in the medals tally? Why are Indians amazed when an Indian girl wins a wrestling championship? Why they are not amazed when Bolt becomes the fastest runner on the face of this earth? Is it because the prejudiced thinking or because of lack of infrastructure for sports in the country?
Various institutions have come up that give extensive coaching to students to clear the esteemed JEE MAIN Exam. Our aspiring future doctors toil for year to just clear AIMS or NEET ( NEET 2018 for the next year ) so as to have a bright future ahead. However, people interested in sports are seldom motivated to work hard and channelize all their efforts to establish a career in that sport. Why is it that in this modern era of 21st century where we have progressed rapidly people still are hesitant to make career in sports?
Beijing Olympic gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra had his personal shooting range for practice. He clearly stated that the facilities provided by the authority were below par. The media showed where Olympic bronze medal winner wrestler Sushil Kumar had his training. There were not even basic facilities. Under such circumstances how can we expect our sportspersons to win medals for their country?
Hockey, the National Sport of the country, does not even has a permanent controlling body for the sport. The team has not been able to muster the adequate no. of feathers to its cap.
The biggest reason for such resistance is the lack of infrastructure facilities available for sports. The only sport that gets attention is Cricket; rest sports are given a back seat. Even the international players sometimes do not get coaching which is at par with the Olympic level. Also there is no significant assurance that sportspersons will get an opportunity to enter the national squad. If a person has the ability to prove himself at international level, even then there is no backing and financial support from the sports authority. The athlete has to do it on his own. There are no proper grounds available for our sportspersons to practice regularly.
Winning an international tournament serves as a pre requisite for a sport to gain recognition in India. People did not know anything about the Indian Cricket team before its terrific international victory against Australia. But why wait for such a victory before giving due importance to a sport.
The need of the hour is to bring about changes at both macro as well as grass root levels. The government should extend its support to promote various sports and provide adequate infrastructure facilities for the same. It should ensure that the so long unrecognized talent of numerous Indians should not go waste looking outside the window of their JEE or NEET coaching institutes fantasizing about their dream to become a professional sportsperson.