Earlier in Forum







Q: How can India make its sportsmen’s
performance better?
(This is the last instalment of readers’ response)

Sport is also a good career, parents should know

Athens repeats the story of Sydney. The only progress in these four years is that we have graduated to a silver medal, while it was a bronze last time. Every Olympic contingent is sent with big promises and performances are analysed after every Olympics. Foreign coaches are appointed and players are trained abroad. No post-mortem examination is going to help unless we adopt a new sports policy aimed at catching them young. The talented should be trained free of cost and selection should be fair, for which we should go deep down into the country. Parents should know that you can make a living out of sport and children should not be pushed into academics only.

— DEVI BHUSHAN SHARMA Shamgarh, Karnal

Political will can turn the tide

The first challenge is to create a political will, which is what has made China excel in sport. Involve massively big and small industrial houses to create international-standard infrastructure all over India. Bureaucratic hold should give in to a panel of experts in every field to handle pressures of selection at the grass-root level. The missing passion in domestic competitions should be brought back along with the right kind of international exposure. The National Games should be a biennial event, one year before the Asian Games and one year before the Olympic games for us to be able to spot the players in form. The Army with full backing can deliver the goods. Creating career opportunities in sport is paramount.

— Prof SHARDA ATTRI, Barnala

Set up panel to probe Athens

The government should immediately set up a high-level committee to probe the Athens debacle and suggest future reforms. All states should be told to take a genuine interest in sport and target the rural areas. Foreign coaches should be hired to train our talented sportsmen. All sport should be given equal importance and opportunities. Exposure and diet should not be ignored and the Sports Ministry should be held accountable for every bad show. We should analyse the videos to review our mistakes and technical shortcomings.

— Col BEANT SINGH (retd), Jalandhar Cantonment

Improve health

We cannot blame sportspersons for this debacle. We need more medals to increase our reputation in the world, but a bigger challenge is to improve the health of our citizens.

If our schoolchildren get proper training and competitive environment, they will grow up to meet the international standards. The government can only support them with infrastructure and coaching, while job prospects are the real motivating factors. Politics in sport will have to end for sportsmen to move ahead. Sport should be introduced as a subject in our school curriculum.


Raise the level of dedication

Players should be devoted to their event and have a spirit of nationalism in them. Newcomers should be encouraged and those who do not perform well should be penalised. Bias will have to be eliminated from selection, which should be at least six months before the competition. There should be a minimum of five months of training under the competition environment. There should be no media hype for players.


All heads should be professional

Heads of all sports organisations should be professional and selections for different disciplines should be made from school. More jobs and infrastructure for should be raised liberally for sport. Favouritism should have no place in selection.

— R. S. BAIDWAN, Mohali

Punish players on dope

The selection of sportsmen should be purely on merit and the teams should be finalised immediately after the Olympics, so that the players get sufficient time for practice. Sportsmen caught for doping should be punished and all state expenditure on their coaching should be recovered from them. Coaches should be held equally responsible for the conduct of their players, for which all coaches will have to be chosen more judiciously.


Give bigger rewards to beginners

Any sportsmen in any arena should have the best of facilities and aid, backed with proper guidance and training at least up to a certain age. This is a good way of motivating the young. The present prize money and diet money in all competitions should be raised to the international standard. The failures of players who are shaping up well or the modest achievements of teams that are in a transition should be tolerated and they should be given full support to readjust their aim and shoot the gold next time.

— PARVINDER KAUR, Sultanpur Lodhi, (Kapurthala)

Keep them under vigil

Winning medals at the international level requires long practice, preparation and sound mental health. For the selection, the accent should be on mental and physical fitness up to the international standard. Players with a history of doping should be dropped and our talent hunt should begin with the rural areas where men and women have better physiques. More sports academies should be in villages rather than in big, polluted cities. Inspirational encounters with leading sportsmen will motivate the teams for future. Players should get more money for proper, rich diet. The athletes participating in international events should be monitored round-the-clock to know that they are fit and staying away from drugs. Our maximum emphasis should be on our traditional strengths like hockey and big-medal disciplines like gymnastics and swimming.

— NIRMAL KUMAR, Panchkula

Combine our strengths

A nation of 100 crore sends only 74 representatives to Athens and has a lone silver to show for its performance. We need to work in all areas. If we have talent, we don’t have good training facilities, and if we have that, the conditions are bad. There is a need to improve sports facilities in villages and small towns with the active participation of teachers, panchayats and the youth. Selection should be on merit rather than based on the quota system. Coaching centres should be set up in all states and all talented candidates should get sponsorship. Private sector can play a big role in this.


Treat sport as science

We require restructuring of our education policy. Schools that offer physical education as a subject need to revise their syllabi on the scientific lines. We require attention in three different areas: schools require to promote sport as much as possible; grading system should include rewards for excellence in sport; and there should be an autonomous body for each sport. The corporate giants can fund these bodies and get tax relief in return. The IITians are now a much-respected community in the world because they come through a fair competition. If we can motivate our best minds, they can compete successfully with anyone in the world. Sport is still not a full subject in schools, which it should be. It should be no more a part-time activity.

— V. A. KRISHNAN, Mohali

Give moral support

The recent disappointment in Athens Olympics reveals that our sportsmen need to be groomed afresh. Proper coaching and guidance should be given to all sportsmen to enable them to match the best. A good deal of sportsmanship is needed in every player to develop confidence. Sports medicine and better awareness should keep recurring injuries and doping at bay. Media should try not to overemphasise on one particular sport like cricket. Our players can indeed use a little moral support.


Increase allocation for sport

This three-pronged strategy worked well to bring in Green Revolution, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work for sport in India:

1. The government should allot more money for sport. A paltry Rs 460 crore is not enough for a nation as big as India.

2. The corporate sector should be encouraged to sponsor Indian players. It can also be made to adopt certain sport.

3. The sportsmen should be ensured of a decent living after retirement to encourage youngsters to take up sport as a career.

— NIPUN MARYA, On e-mail

Explore new fields

Get rid of nepotism and take sport down to the rural areas, where the real sporting talent lives. Children in the age group of 3-4 can be identified for training in various sport. The government should shoulder the responsibility of raising them as future sportsmen. India needs to expand its field of participation in the world of sport and enter new areas that she has traditionally overlooked. We need to change our approach towards sport, health and education.

— AJAIB SINGH, Budhlada

Focus on India’s own Olympics

Living in India is tougher than competing in the Olympics. Every Indian is an Olympian, slaving to earn the medal of livelihood. Only the crooked win and the rest stand defeated. Some are defeated by privileges, others by corruption and the majority by poverty. Unless we develop India as a nation of equal opportunities, we can’t win. Let there be no privileged class. Let no coach be blamed for a player failing the dope test. Our hockey team has done well, but it’s not divine. It’s a reflection of our society. We should welcome our contingent home wholeheartedly, like true Indians, handicapped nationally.


Look for natural sportsmen

Search for natural sportsmen like Dara Singh, Milkha Singh, PT Usha and Dhyanchand. Make our youth aware of the dangers of drug abuse. For this, our selection process should be more transparent. The inclination of youth towards drugs should be stopped with an iron hand.

— GURDEEP MANN, Bathinda

Kill drugs, talent will come

Drug menace, dishonesty and corruption in sport are hard realities. Even the mind of the talented has been diverted towards drugs due to the callous attitude of the government. The village youth are reeling in this darkness and the unskilled are coming forth. Even the roadside performers and gymnasts are more hardworking than our sportsmen. We can even think of roping them in for the next Olympics.

— BIKRAM GILL, Ludhiana

Compete, don’t fight

Before any big sports event, there are controversies about selections and coaches. Our focus is rarely ever on the task ahead because we waste our energies in such trivial pursuits.




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