GD/PI / #GD Topic

May 05, 2018

May 05, 2018 @ 10:57 AM

MICA

Are we becoming a Sporting Nation?

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Right through the 1930s to 1980s, India dominated the sport of hockey, winning 8 gold medals. Milkha Singh, known as the ‘Flying Sikh’ for his exploits in track and field, won the gold at Commonwealth Games in 1958. Prakash Padukone became the first Indian to win the All England Badminton Championship. Indian sporting history is sprinkled with such achievements. Yet, India is not particularly known as a ‘Sporting Nation’. Are things changing?

Is India a Sporting Nation?

For a country to be called a sporting nation, just winning medals at major sporting events in the world is not enough. What is required is a conscious effort by the government and the people to make sports an inherent part of the lives of their communities. Health and fitness are important aspects of a progressive and flourishing society. It is these areas that a country must focus on and create a sporting culture or develop a sporting consciousness in the citizens, to be called a sporting nation. 

India has been taking strides in the sporting arena, with spectacular individual performances at various prestigious events such as the World Cup, Commonwealth Games or the Olympics. Champion athletes such as Abhinav Bindra, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Sushil Kumar, Vijender Singh, to name a few have brought laurels for the country. But just winning medals does not mean that India has become a sporting nation. It is more to do with the attitude towards health and fitness, and the process which produces such champion athletes. 

One sport nation

India has, for a long period now, been crazy about cricket. The hype and buzz around cricket is unimaginable, to the extent that all other sports in the country dwarf in front of cricket. The money that the governing board of cricket has at its disposal has been used to develop cricketing infrastructure across the country, which has promoted the spread of cricket. It is not that people don’t want to see other sports, but other sports lack the kind of infrastructure cricket has and therefore, are not able to attract the viewers. 

Investments in other sports

Slowly but surely, there is a push towards building a sporting legacy in the country. The private sector in conjunction with the government, is investing heavily in promoting athletes and sportspersons from other sports. For instance, private players have come together to create attractive leagues (just like IPL in cricket)- Pro Kabaddi League, Hockey India League, Indian Super League, Indian Badminton League, to name a few. Such investments have given a new hope to people to take up sports as a viable career. Private corporates such as the Tata Group, Sahara, Reliance, are happy to sponsor sportspersons across the spectrum. This is bound to have a positive effect in turning India into a multi-sport nation. 

Government initiatives

The government has also undertaken a lot of initiatives to make India a sporting nation. The launch of ‘Khelo India’ campaign has given impetus to sports and fitness infrastructure across the country. Its ‘Target Olympic Podium’ scheme helped athletes having potential of winning medals in Olympics. Public Sector Undertakings such as ONGC, SAI, Air India, Railways and others give financial support as well as employment opportunities to sportspersons. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan promotes sports infrastructure in the rural areas. These are a few of the many initiatives the government has been implementing because it realises the need to spread a sporting culture in the country and the importance of sports in India’s rise in the world. 

Education and awareness

The fundamental need is to educate people about the importance of health, fitness and the role that sports play in our lives. When children are allowed to take up different sports and resources are provided, only then will a real difference be seen.

India has a long road ahead before it can call itself a sporting nation but with all the initiatives being taken, it is surely on the right track. 

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