Now the government should provide for them.
At the recent concluded Common Wealth Games in Delhi, Indian athletes in various disciplines brought laurels to the country by winning almost 100 medals. This count of medal is the highest ever in India and by this huge achievement, the young athletes of this country has sent a message to the government that they too can compete with the world’s best and bring back the honours for their motherland.
As recently as maybe two years back we were thrilled that Abhinav Bindra won the first ever gold medal for the country during the last Olympics. This tally was further raised by Sushil. But at the CWG 2010 games at New Delhi, new talents emerged taking every one by surprise. Everyone was expecting the same athletes to win their gold and a few other medal. But the countrymen were stunned by the performance of athletes in various other disciplines that our country stood tall in the second place of the gold medal tally. My hats off to the athletes, their parents and the coaches who put in hard work over the years to make the world and more importantly our own government to realize that there is no dearth of sporting talent in India.
It is high time that the Union government and the state governments appreciate the efforts of the athletes and become conscious of the need to allocate much required funds for various sports, infrastructure and other needs of the athletes. The government should also specify the heads under which the funds can be utilized simply because our politicians have the tendencies to utilize major chunk of allocation of funds for building infrastructure because this is where either the minister or the sports director or someone down the line get their commission and what is left for the athletes is just pittance.
The fallout of such a policy is that parents and family members of the athletes have to slog it out to provide for the children to bring out the best in them. This mindset of the government has to change and instead organize coaching camps to tap the talent. And once a athletes is noticed or rather identified, the government should go all out and provide the facilities to bring out the best in the child without burdening the parents because when an athletes shines at the international sporting event it is pride not only for the parents but even bigger pride for the state and the country.
The need of the hour is to ensure the current medal winners do not feel slighted after the games are over and that they will be remembered only at the time of next national or international sporting events. The government should ensure that their future is secure, that when the athletes surpass the age of competition that they will either be employed as a government servant or the government will facilitate, subsidize or finance them if the athletes want to set up their own academies in the field of their discipline. This is besides other incentives in cash and properties that the national or state governments doles out to the athletes on their return home. This will send a clear message to grooming athletes that the governments be it national or state has a policy in place to ensure their well being and that they will not be left in the lurch or left to fend for themselves.
This is the biggest fear of athletes that the government does not appreciate their efforts nor cares for them. And this has a ring of truth to it because Indian ace sprinter gold medalists Pillavullakand Thekkeparambil Usha better known as P T Usha was not even invited for the opening ceremony of the recently concluded Common Wealth Games.
But Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Mrs. Sonia Gandhi extended their courtesy to the medal winning athletes and personally met and acknowledged their contribution to sports in the country. But it should not just remain at this, much more needs to be done to boost the morale of sportsmen and women in this country. They should be honoured publicly. On the eve of Common Wealth Games national news channel CNN-IBN honoured forgotten sports heroes of the country and they had similar thing to express, wherein they said that they do not require money from the governments but require recognizance of their achievement, which the governments failed to but were accomplished by CNN-IBN
To start with Indian athletes should have access to all the world class facilities made available at the Common Wealth Games. Sports Federations and Associations should be invited to organize national level meets, tournaments, events, matches etc at these facilities throughout the year. Sports infrastructure and facilities in states should be revamped. Good coaches should be employed by the government to coach, train and instruct athletes on the finer nuances of the sport, check on their fitness levels. Such measures will go a long way in building our athletes for future.
As of now sports in India seems to be in a disarray with our youth taking interest in sports only at the school or college level and then giving up and the reason being no future prospects are underlined by the government. Those few parents who encourage their children have to dig deeper into their pockets to sustain the needs of their child or children, as the government’s dictum is -- you first get the medals for the country only then it will recognize your talent and maybe then think of contributing to the expenses incurred. This scenario has to stop immediately and instead, national as well as state governments should spend money on identifying talent in sports and training them.


Dalia said...

Nisser, welcome to the blog. Thanks for the nice writeup.

dlp said...

Yes Nisser... Welcome to the blog and keep on writing. It's very nice sometimes to shift from politics and praise our heroes too. We have many heroes in India but these corrupt politicians keep them supressed under their power. Let's fight together against all forms of corruption. Join the "Followers" of Niz Goenkars at the bottom of this page and invite your friends too. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Good achievement during the CWG.

We got to patiently wait to cross the two billion mark to win the 2nd Gold at the Olympics.

Mike Carvalho said...

Good article Nisser! Just to add the Canadian flag bearer was Ken Pereira. He is of goan origin and captains canadas field hockey team.

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