Approximately 340 million Indians, or 26.62% of the country’s total population, were between the ages of 0-14 in 2019. It can be both exciting and worrying for planners, especially in India, to have such a large number of young people, given the potential for national progress. . There is a need to provide opportunities for meaningful employment, health care, and education for youth. Sport and fitness are an area that offers the opportunity to develop the potential of young people. India has historically failed in the world of international sports, except in field hockey and to a lesser extent cricket. While youth sports and physical fitness have not received much attention until recently, initiatives and organizations that have worked to develop the athletic talents of young people, such as academies founded by former athletes, the Army Sports Institute and some regional centers of the Sports Authority of India.
In 2017, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Union Sports Minister, proposed a plan in a series of tweets that would see the Sports Authority of India (SAI) remove the word “authority” because it is no longer relevant in the context of sports. contemporaries.
The minister also expressed concern about the miserable circumstances under which legendary athletes are unable to meet their fundamental requirements. A discussion on how to improve the nation’s sports ecosystem resulted from the minister’s observation on the current state of sports. In light of this, it is necessary to understand the causes that harm Indian sports, as well as the measures that the government is taking to correct things.
Challenges and problems of sports in India
- administrative problems
- lack of infrastructure
- gender bias
- Lack of pay and job security
- Break stereotypes and culture
There is no standard code, rule, legislation or law that governs how the various sports associations are managed (including elections, funding, programming, events, requirements and time limits). The statutes and regulations of these associations are unique. Consequently, they do not treat athletes fairly or transparently. Indian hockey has suffered greatly as a result of the dispute between the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI) over which organization should be the official governing body for the sport. Another example is the Archery Association of India (AAI), which has had the same president for 40 years (1973 to 2012). To address the aforementioned problem, legislation must be passed specifying the fundamental organizational framework for all sports. Despite being in the works, such comprehensive legislation has yet to be tabled in parliament due to objections from various sports organisations.
lack of infrastructure
Another big problem with Indian sports is the lack of a sports hierarchy from the local level to the national level. There is no proper system in place to develop talent at the school, block, and district levels before elevating top athletes to the state and federal levels. As a result, many talented athletes lose their way and are unable to compete at the highest levels of their respective sports. In addition, the lack of basic sports infrastructure makes things worse. As a remedy, sports associations should be established at the block and district level, and they will be in charge of supervising the local sports academies. These associations must have qualified personnel to manage the sports facilities of the academies, as well as other demands of the athletes, such as correct nutritional plans, anti-doping awareness campaigns, fair and timely selection tests, conditioning camps, exposure abroad, etc. . These academies should serve as a breeding ground for future champions.
The sport is also riddled with gender inequality as women find it difficult to rise to the top of Indian sports. The sports are considered “too difficult” for Indian women to participate in, thus they are overwhelmingly male-dominated. However, the situation has changed dramatically in recent years, with the rise of a new generation of female athletes in sports such as badminton, tennis, shooting, archery, boxing, track and field, weightlifting and wrestling. But there is still a long way to go and in India we still have a lot of untapped potential. Media and cinema can help revolutionize Indian sports by raising awareness, popularizing and changing the participation of women. Recent interest in highlighting the performance of female athletes in Indian media and cinema (such as Chak De India and Shabaash Mithu) is a step in the right direction.
Lack of pay and job security
Sports are the result of human nature, which strives for excellence and perfection, but due to the lack of financial compensation and job stability for athletes, the sports sector is not considered a viable career option in India. As a result, parents are hesitant to choose it as their child’s profession and instead put more emphasis on academic excellence. Also, contrary to norms around the world, there are no reserved seats for athletes at the country’s leading educational institutions. The elite Ivy League schools, for example, are a center of athletic prowess as well as academic excellence and consistently produce large numbers of Olympic athletes and world champions in sports, in contrast to the IITs and IIMs in India, which put a Exclusive emphasis on academics.
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Break stereotypes and culture
Sports and adventure were never valued by India’s elite. The caste system gave more credit to intellectual achievements than to physical ones. Even if we have an absurdly low achievement rate, we don’t have a lot of Nobel laureates and brilliant inventors. Work and physical activities have always been reserved for the so-called lower castes. Adventure or athletics were never valued by the Indian aristocracy. Despite having an extensive coastline, neither deep-sea diving nor surfing are popular pastimes in our country. More fully clothed people are seen enjoying fried salty foods on Indian beaches than swimming. We have snow-capped mountains, but not many people go skiing. Despite the large number of lakes and rivers, kayaking or sailing has never been a popular activity. Governments are in no hurry to build facilities for the same, as the elite have never been interested in anything that needs a little adventure. This cultural conditioning is seen in how parents and schools view sports. By the time they reach the 10th or 12th grade, many children see their participation in athletics as the first thing they are barred from.
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Indian sports have a lot of untapped potential that is yet to be realised. But now is the right time to reaffirm our dedication and change the way we view sports and make the future of sports in India world class. Until we establish ourselves as a sports superpower, India’s aspiration to become a world power will remain unfulfilled. If India wants to become a bright and rich valley for the rest of the world, sports must act as a beacon.