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Problems of Indian sports. No child's play

The government should withdraw itself from running sports at the senior level and focus on encouraging it at the grassroots.

By PPFI Team
November 19, 2008

Sports is one area where India lags behind even some of the poorest nations in the world. This despite the huge pool of talented sportsperson that exists in all parts of India. At the junior levels, our boys and girls can compete with the best in the world in almost every sport. However when it comes to the senior levels, where the actual capabilities of our sportsperson are tested, we fail miserably. This shows that it is not the lack of talent that bogs down our athletes but somewhere along the line, it is the lack of proper training that lead to their poor performances in the international arena.

The fact that professional sportsperson in our country face a lot of hardships cannot be denied. There are usual problems of lack of infrastructure and funds, lethargic approach on the part of government agencies and indifference of the corporate sector in providing sponsorships. However the fundamental problem lies in the absence of a sporting culture in India. Sports in India are considered a secondary and supplementary activity. This explains to a large extent, the apathy on the part of the government machinery towards sports. The corporate indifference too stems from the fact that they are not sure that the sponsorship money will be efficiently used in promoting the game and for the welfare of the players.

International sports is highly competitive where only the best and the brightest can hope to reach the top position. Past experience has shown that the government run organisations like the Sports Authority of India (SAI) have consistently failed to produce athletes who can compete at the international level. Hence government should withdraw itself from the administration and running of sports at the senior levels.

The corporate sector should be encouraged to take full control of the management of games and training of athletes. This only will ensure greater accountability on the part of the players and the coaches to show results. It should restrict its role to promoting sporting activities at the school and college levels and in providing jobs to meritorious sportsperson. It should make all efforts to encourage young boys and girls to take up sports as a full time profession and not as a secondary activity.