Tuesday, Oct 12, 2021 07:30 [IST]

Last Update: Tuesday, Oct 12, 2021 01:58 [IST]

Giving sports its wings

Nothing exposes the hollowness of our superpower pretensions other than our mediocre performance in the sports arena. Unlike other parameters like per capita income, the standard of living measurements, HDI etc., where our dismal performance goes unnoticed except in academic circles, our pathetic performance in sports gets rubbed on our face every Olympics or Asian Games or for that matter, national level games. Theoretically, India should be dominating every sport.
We are 135 crore people, and it shouldn’t be challenging to find a champion in every conceivable sport. We are an ethnically diverse country with almost all races living in India. We have blessed weather with various climatic conditions, from snow-filled mountains to steaming tropics. Every possible sport could be played in India, almost throughout the year. Yet, year after year, we fail even to qualify in most international sports, let alone excel in them. Many reasons like government apathy and lack of infrastructure have been ascribed to this abysmal performance. There can be no doubt that India lacks world-class infrastructure for sports. Also, India has unique sporting challenges because of the changes not only in modern sports but in our own economic and social resurgence. Many see sports as a means of livelihood, indeed a way out of poverty. Many a parent in India continues to see sports as a hobby, hardly a profession.
The main reason is the has indeed been a long and none-too-glorious tradition of sports federations in the country singularly failing to instil a sports ethos and culture in the minds of the people. The key to fixing the many glitches and generating a sporting wave, if not a tsunami, across the country, is in getting the right individuals to take over the reins of our sport federations. The honchos sitting at the heads of the federations and their band of buddies are instrumental in making sports popular among the masses and achieving international sporting acclaim. It is an imperative – the control and functioning of sports federations must be taken out of the hands of politicians and business people with vested interests and put in the hands of professional sports administrators. Once a sport is played and watched by millions of Indians across the nation, medals and money will come in. And sometimes it is the odd championship or medal which drives popularity and power. Cricket stands testimony to this.
Transparency and reporting are crucial, and modern sport management accounting and reporting systems are an absolute must. Planning, budgeting and time-tested but modern methods are what the professional manager brings. Sports management is distinct from coaching and teaching. The perpetually acrimonious matter of team selections is a bird of an entirely different feather. But unless we get the fundamentals of sports management in place, remove the old and bring in the new professional paid-manager, the bygones of Indian sport will continue to haunt us. The shackles of the age-old control and leadership structures must be broken. Only professional sports managers who are properly paid and rewarded on performance can lead this seismic change. Until professionalism is ingrained into our sports systems and administrations, neither will India become a sport-minded country nor will the international medals come.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi