Sports in India has gained a new definition recently with many leagues catching the attention. The responsibility to get sports in every household is being recognized by the sports authorities, to an extent, and business tycoons are investing money to promote sports and to benefit the players at par with their capacity. Yet, there is a long way to go.
India is still far behind when it comes to Olympics and other important events. Is it lack of facilities or talent? Is it the non-seriousness at school levels towards sports? Perhaps, a mix of all these factors. Sports at the grass-roots level needs to be promoted for a positive result ahead. We all know this then why is it that many sportspersons opt out of sports after school or college. Is it just a medium to get admission into good colleges through sports quota? Why don’t youngsters plan to take it up professionally?
Young players such as Sandeep Sejwal (swimming), Yuki Bhambri (tennis), Saina Nehwal (badminton) have inspired many youngsters to take up sports. However, the number is very low in terms of performance at international events. To see India excel at higher levels we need to look at sports as a passion and profession nationwide, not merely a sports lesson limited to school grounds.
Sports as a part of life
The schools in India should make sports mandatory for students in order to promote sports. Not only that, it instills team effort and learning through the game. It’s the best way to keep a young mind engaged and healthy and attain healthy body weight. Besides that it helps students get into the best colleges if they have sports awards to their credit. While these are familiar reasons to take up sports, continuing sports is a different matter.
Sports should not be looked upon as a gateway to admissions or better grades or attendance fulfilment due to missed classes. This is the thinking of today’s students which needs to be changed. Passion towards sports has to be instilled since the early days of players. Providing the best facilities to players in school will encourage participation and interest in sports.
In fact, there are schools in our country which provide world class facilities to its sportspersons and have produced players like Gautam Gambhir. All round development is what the best schools believe in – which is attained through sports! The motto of the school makes it clear – Perfection cannot be achieved by the weak.
More tournaments at grass roots
Many schools cannot afford world class facilities due to lack of funds and it affects the performance of their players. For such situations, workshops and trainings by experienced players will help players mould their tactics. Bringing in alumni sportspersons will pull youngsters to the game too.
Whatever it takes, schools in India need to make an extra effort to promote sports at the grass roots. Competitions and tournaments at the grass roots should be conducted often to help find star talents and then work on their strengths, turning them into professional players. India has no dearth of talent, it just needs to be discovered during tournaments and inviting scouts to help discover the talented players. In addition, it will help players and teams in practice matches and gauge their ability.
Yuki Bhambri’s triumphs in international tennis in recent times have brought sports among youngsters into light. Brother to two successful elder sisters, Ankita Bhambri and Sana Bhambri, this 16-year-old was introduced to the game at the age of six and has pulled many youngsters towards tennis. He made headlines when he won the Junior Grand Slam, becoming the only the 4th Indian to bag the prestigious title. He also became the first Indian to have won the Australian Open Junior singles. His victories and his journey towards achieving and growing as a sportsperson with every event proves that India is capable of producing sports stars in huge numbers if sports at school level is paid attention to.
According to Yuki, family support plays a huge role in one’s successful career and he has been lucky to have had supporting parents and sisters, who always stood by his side and encouraged him to do better every time he stepped on the court. Similar to Yuki, swimmer Sandeep Sejwal never forgets to thank his mother for encouraging him to break records with his unmatched timings. We all win and lose but the courage to get up again and fight back emerging victorious is a sportsman’s quality, according to Sejwal.
Players like Sourav Ghosal, PV Sandhu, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal have become role models for youngsters. We hope to produce more players like these and get our country’s name on the victory podium at international events. With time and money as an investment at the school/grass-roots level, India can produce more and more brilliant players. Young players with their performances are also bagging ad endorsements adding popularity and glamour to their name and their respective sport. Also, sports management has become a popular profession for sportspersons.
Sports as a whole is gaining a lot of attention and will surely help youngsters who excel in sports, in future. If appropriate value is given to sports education along with high class facilities and international coaches, India as a global sports nation will surely excel.
Sports schools: An effort towards success
Physical education and sports as subjects are being introduced in many schools in India now. EduSports is one such school – India’s primary school sports enterprise. It was in 2003 that Saumil Majmudar, founder and CEO of Edusports, decided to provide all opportunities to kids who abstain from participating in sports events because of lesser opportunities and coaching issues. It initially started with Sportzvillage in Bangalore and focused on providing an appropriate place to schools for sports activities during school timings or in vacations.
This would solve half the problem, according to Majmudar, since venue is really a matter of concern to organise sports activities. As the response looked positive Majumdar went ahead directly to the schools in year 2009. He came up with Edusportsand made in-school sports as well as physical education curriculum accessible to schools. To provide training to instructors, managing sports equipments, assessment programmes were all part of the agenda. Edusports sessions/programmes are delivered in physical education module and the school directly pays the fee to the company on per child basis and is around US$ 3 to 4.
With time and popularity, Edusportsmanaged around 15 schools signed up with them by the end of 2009. At the beginning of 2010, Seedfun—Bangalore-based business enterprise – invested almost US$1 million and came along with Edusport.Today, Edusports facilitates sports for more than 1,75,000 children in almost 270 schools in 82 cities all over India. With such results and rising interest in sports at school level, sports education will surely bring a positive change in Indian sports scenario and the day will not be far when the tricolor will reach the podium at Olympics and other international events.
KOOH Sports, one of India’s leading sports management company, emphasizes on specialized sports education, training and coaching programmes of international standards to school students. With the motto – A fit body leads to an able mind – KOOH believes in encouraging children to take up sports and instill fitness thereby creating a positive impact at the grass roots level. The sports company has a range of programmes from kindergarten to grade eight. Kid Fit for students between kindergarten and grade two, Get Athletic is for grades three to eight. In partnership with US-based sports foundation, the company also organizes events and runs sports academies. Already into cricket, a tie up with Rajasthan Royals, IPL team, KOOH plans to penetrate into athletics and football too. With an aim to see India perform better at Olympics and other international events, the company aims to nurture talented sportsmen and provide exposure to the players.