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Editorial1.25 Bn people and two Olympic medals!

1.25 Bn people and two Olympic medals!


1.25 Bn people and two Olympic medals!

's record in sports and plight of sportspersons remained dismal. People of this country always nursed an aspiration to see honorable medal tally to feel proud of. But this remained a chasing dream for us all when we see even small countries surpassing us in world sports events.

No serious effort at level was taken to improve the plight of sports in India barring the commercial game of . In his recent Radio broadcast, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched upon the recent Rio Olympic Games. Paying wholesome tribute to the medal-winners, he announced a task force to improve India's performance over the coming Olympics. A strategy for training and selection of talented players is to be set up for the purpose. However, the Prime Minister would be well-advised to begin by using his considerable influence to revamp various sporting organisations before undertaking player selection and training.

The unfortunate aspect of this is that almost all sporting bodies in various disciplines are dominated by cliques which have had a vice-like grip over them for ages. These need to be rid of vested interests and groupism. This is not an easy task, as we currently witness in the case of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Though some of the recommendations of the Lodha committee are controversial, overall, their implementation can only achieve the objective of cleansing the Augean stables of Indian cricket.

To return to the Prime Minister's decision to set up a task force, it is absolutely imperative that only professionals with a passion for the sport and imbued with a sense of national pride are chosen to staff it. Following a fair and just selection, adequate funds for sports infrastructure and training must be made available.

Money plays a key role in harnessing natural talent of individual players. In this regard, the example of the British is apt. The main reason why the British emerged second in the medals tally at the Rio Olympics is the infusion of funds into the development of sports in the country. Following the dismal performance of the British in the 1996 Olympics, then Prime Minister John Major took a conscious decision to launch a national lottery the income from which was to be mainly devoted for the development of sports.

From one gold medal in the Atlanta Games, British tally went up to 27 in Rio but in the intervening period the funding for sports, too, had risen from 5 million British sterling to 274 million pound sterling. Whether a national lottery on the lines of the British can be launched here for funding sports is not clear but there can be no denying the need for providing enough funds for the nourishment of our sporting talent.

Admittedly, a few months before the Rio Games, the government did loosen the purse strings for various participants but, as their performance showed, it proved too little too late. Surely, champions cannot be made overnight. It is a painstaking process which starts in pre-teen years and continues well into adulthood. For a country of 1.25 billion people failing to produce or groom sufficient number of sportspersons to achieve a respectable level in competitive international sports is worth serious introspection and needed a resolve to make corrections henceforth.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.


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