By Rajan Kalsotra:
Many of us were overjoyed after seeing Indian contestants putting up a marvellous show in the CWG. India secured a second spot in these games by getting 38 gold medals with a total of 101 medals. Indian contestants did well in boxing, shooting, badminton. but what surprised everyone was their good show in sports like Disc Throw, Table Tennis, Gymnastics-Artistic, Aquatics-Swimming. Praises were coming from everywhere saying Indian sports have risen and India has become a sports super power. First time in the history, most of the Indians were watching CWG instead of watching the ongoing cricket test series between India and Australia.
As the Asian games also ended, Indian contestants did well there as well – as compared to their performance in the 2006 Asian games. They were successful in getting 14 gold medals with a total of 64 medals and securing sixth spot. Here too, Indian contestants did well in unexpected areas like Roller sports. But if we look at the figures of China, South Korea, Japan, they were far ahead of India in Asian games. Ultimately, the real competition is Olympics but if we look at the medal tally of Olympics 2008, 49 countries were ahead of India in those games. India only got only 1 gold and 2 bronze medal there. This makes us wonder if we can really call India a sports superpower at this time? Answer is NO. But we can say that India has headed on the path towards becoming a sports superpower.
If we look back and see what has changed in Indian sports in the last 3-4 years, we see the improved type of training and facilities which our sports persons are provided now. The government is finally giving more attention to sports and the corporate world is also showing interest in sports other than cricket by offering the advertisement/training facilities to sports persons. Mittal Champions Trust is an example.
If India wants the tag of being a sports superpower then a lot of things need to be done. First of all, we have to shift our focus from popular games only to the variety of games which are being played worldwide. Then the next step is to build the state of art academies for all types of sports, not only in one city but in at least in all the metro cities so that more people participate in different sports without facing any type of difficulty. Then we have to start scholarship programmes for each and every sport like, something similar to academic scholarships; and last but not the least, we have to introduce all the sports at the school level too. If we stick to these simple yet effective plans, then the day is not far when the whole world will see India as a sports super power.