Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 07:30 [IST]

Last Update: Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 01:56 [IST]

Losing credibility

India’s abysmally poor performance at the Olympics is nothing new. India has consistently failed to foster players with a competitive edge in any sport other than cricket. Even a large amount of public and private investment in sports has failed to produce substantial results.
India sure punches well below its weight when it comes to sports. At every Olympic Games, rivals China and Russia walk away with multiple gold medals. For fans in India—one of the world's most populous nations and fastest growing economies—the event is an exercise in
despair. Not just at the Olympics, the story is the same at the Asian Games or any other international arena.
The world's second most populous nation has the worst Olympic record in terms of medals per head. For a country whose intense passion for cricket take center stage and every moment of success is celebrated with pomp and joy all over our country, there have been moments of glory where sportsmen from other sports have toiled hard and have brought back laurels to the country by winning medals at the Olympics and World Championships. Though some
would argue that these moments to savour have been far and few.
Compare India's performance with minnows such as Grenada and Jamaica, which regularly get a medal for every couple of hundred thousand people. So why isn't India punching its weight? One reason is undoubtedly money. India, despite its space programme and burgeoning population of billionaires, is still a very poor nation in terms of per capita income, and sport has never been a priority for the government
These failures are often attributed to the model of sports governance in India. Allegations of nepotism, fiefdom, unaccountability and financial irregularities give credence to such views. But in the recent past, it seems, the Indian state has started taking a keen interest in sports. Funding has increasing for programmes such as the Khelo India Games, which saw a hike of Rs 312.42 crore (about $46 million), from a revised amount of Rs 578 crore (about $78 million) in 2019-20 to Rs 890.42 crore (about $120 million). However, it remains to be seen if the increase in the budgetary allocation will galvanise any significant change at the ground level.
Constitutionally, sports form a part of Entry 33 of the State List, under Article 246 of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. Sports is clubbed together with entertainment, cinematic performances and amusement. There is also no specific enactment for the entire country. Constitutionally, sport is a state subject.
Many experts, at both the national and international levels, feel that if India wants to become a sporting nation, the country will have to invest heavily in building a modern infrastructure and a robust grassroots system. Needless to say, the current model of governance of Indian sports clearly lacks accountability and transparency, which creates an environment that is conducive to wide-scale corruption, threatening a tournament’s overall credibility. Even India’s most profitable sports league, the IPL, despite being one of the better-managed Indian professional leagues, has been embroiled in controversy in the recent past. Hence, unless mechanisms are brought in place to govern the huge sums of money and the interests of various stakeholders, such tournaments will always run the risk of losing credibility, negatively impacting the future of its players and stakeholders.

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