Need for a viable sports culture
A grand welcome awaits the pride of India P V Sindhu, who earned the distinction of being first woman to win an Olympic silver medal.
A grand welcome awaits the pride of India P V Sindhu, who earned the distinction of being first woman to win an Olympic silver medal. The Telangana Government and the GHMC have made elaborate arrangements to make the event as spectacular as has been her achievement at Rio de Janeiro. Incidentally, governments of both the Telugu-speaking States have vied with each other in raining sops on her as her exploits could inspire youth, particularly girls, to take to sports as a career option.
Meanwhile, it’s time for both the States to see that they take the spirit further and focus on unearthing the hidden talent, particularly in the rural areas and provide necessary infrastructure facilities for such raw diamonds to get polished. It is only through such a system they can make a mark against athletes from China and the likes. Perhaps, the potential to win medals in Olympics and other international sports can then be seen as a possibility.
The leaders who keep referring to the manner in which China had progressed in developing its economy and industry should also study and emulate the methods Beijing adopted to train youngsters and make them global champions in a multitude of disciplines. In fact, training the younger generation in various sports should be taken up as a mission. In China, talent is identified at a very young age and trained by the best of coaches.
While the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao promised that the State Government would encourage sportspersons, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu does not lose an opportunity to claim the efforts he had put in to make sports a more viable proposition. Even after bifurcation of the State, Naidu said that his government would enhance the budgetary allocation for development of sports infrastructure in all the districts. This, he reiterated was despite being cash-strapped.
The residuary State is host the 2018-19 National Games for which State Government is likely to make allocation of close to Rs 1,000 crore for developing stadia in different districts. Of this, around Rs 150 crore is to be spent on procurement of equipment in the stadia. The government had also announced that it would select constituencies where a minimum of five acres land was available for setting up the necessary infrastructure under PPP mode.
The government also claimed that it had proposed to select 19 locations across the state of Andhra Pradesh to promote water and adventure sports, beaches, backwaters and theme parks against an investment of about Rs 21 crore. Scuba diving, water skiing, banana boat ride and pedal boating are all in the pipeline. Incidentally, the grounding process has been initiated for water sports, amphibious vehicles, river cruises, beach and backwater sports, sea planes, hotels, resorts and wayside amenities.
Provisional registration process for amphibious vehicles, river cruises, beach and backwater resorts is under active consideration, the government had recently claimed. Hosting of National Games would certainly help the State create infrastructural facilities and attract tourist. However, along with that the government should also have a long-term policy of having a clear target-oriented plan to boost sports and produce a sizeable number of sportspersons, who can win the country and the State international glory.
Having played a stellar role in the run-up to the 2002 National Games in Hyderabad, Naidu will very well understand the positive impact of building sports infrastructure. The Government should also take steps to recruit physical education trainers and coaches from within and outside the State to train youth in different sports activities. First and foremost, the governments should understand that what private sports academies can do, the government can do better if it shows the inclination and keeps politics out of the arena.
The government should recruit best of trainers and keep politicians out of the governing bodies of the academies. The academies should have a single-point agenda-inculcate the youth with the spirit to go for gold. Alas most associations have politicos on their panel. The government should also get sponsors so that young hopefuls can get more and more opportunities to compete outside and parade their skills.
By V RAMU SARMA