Saturday, September 1, 2012

Is Our Country a Real Sport?

The blame game our politicians indulge in notwithstanding, sports is the last thing on the minds of our policy makers. Vijay Kumar and Mary Koms are rare species in our land of abundance. Their success stories are a result of sheer grit, hard work and never-say-die attitude. Not to forget the almost complete lack of resources, to perhaps compete even at the national level, leave alone Olympics. But still, these two, the underdogs and least known athletes, got us glory. It is another story that now Vijay Kumar has been promoted and suddenly Mary Kom is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s muse. Just the other day I read in a renowned daily newspaper that in Delhi there are many youngsters, keen on carving a career in tennis cannot do so. The reason? No tennis courts to practice and Delhi and NCR’s amazing public transport, which does not help in transporting the public at all. Metro is ofcourse an exception. The point I wonder, me being an avid sports enthusiast, is that, when a country like Jamaica can produce world class athletes, why can’t India? Why are we so apathetic about sports, when the country can have an unbeatable pool of talent? The answer I guess is lack of proper channelization of resources and initiatives and incentives for sportsmen and women. I mean what else can we expect, where a tainted minister wants to hop on the first plane to London and be the first one in London for Olympics, even before the sports minister.  Does all this mean that getting to play at a national level is only a fortune that some privileged few can afford? Does no one care about that one talented athlete, stuck without any aid or resources in a remote village in say, Haryana or Maharashtra?

On the other hand we have Unmukt Chand whose being declared ‘failed’ has created quite a stir. Yes, he did get us the U 19 World Cup and we are proud of him and the way he has led the team. So can’t we just let go of the examination? Or give the bloke a chance to reappear and prove himself on this bouncy pitch? Delhi University and St. Stephens are caught in an imbroglio and Unmukt, unfortunately, is not going to be easily ‘Mukt’ from this hassle. Sports can bring the country together, like nothing else. Cricket in India is a testimony to that.  I mean cricket is more than cricket for Indians. Invictus, the movie has shown how South Africa gained from its Rugby team, which was down in dumps. When it started doing well, the whole nation came together, going beyond petty considerations of race, religion, etc. Forget about mobile phones, we need more of Sushil Kumars. Yogeshwar Dutts, Saina Nehwals and Mary Koms. And for that, can we have a little bit of consideration for sports and overall improvement of infrastructure? 

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