Future of Sports in India
During the British regime, a number of popular sports were introduced in the country. The introduction of the Indian Premier League or IPL is a landmark event in the history of sports in India. The first edition of IPL took place in 2008. BCCI or the Board of Control for Cricket in India is the 2nd wealthiest sporting authority across the globe after FIFA or the International Federation of Association Football.
The chronicles of sports in India goes back to the age of the Vedas. In prehistoric India, physical exercise was an indispensable feature of the lifestyle of the people. It was nourished by a dominant energy which was spiritual I rights. In Atharva-Veda, a number of clear ethics such as the mantra mentioning “Duty is in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left” are there.
When taken as a superlative, these expressions carry similar sentiments as the conventional vow in the Olympic: “For the Honour of my Country and the Glory of Sport.”
It is assumed that badminton possibly has its origin in India. The game was played in the form of an adult’s edition of an ancient kid’s game which was called as battledore and shuttlecock in Great Britain. The shuttlecock is a tiny plumy cork and the battledore or the badminton racket is a small wooden bat, currently known as a ‘bird’. Sports and games like snakes and ladders, chess, polo, and playing cards have their source in the Indian subcontinent. It was from this location that they were passed on to other nations and in these nations, these sports were additionally restructured.
After the country’s independence, India has been the proud organizer or co-organizer of a number of globally acclaimed sporting events including the 1982 Asian Games, the 1951 Asian Games, the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the 1987 Cricket World Cup, the 2010 Hockey World Cup, the 2003 Afro-Asian Games, the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Important international sports events that take place in the country every year are the Mumbai Marathon, Chennai Open, Indian Masters and Delhi Half Marathon. The country is the organizer of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit, too. The Buddh International Circuit is a racetrack based in Greater Noida, UP, India.
Other than the above mentioned sports and events, martial arts and wrestling have also become quite popular in India. In the beginning, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was established in the form of the Department of Sports in the same year when the Ninth Asian Games were going to take place (1982) in the national capital. The name of the Ministry was altered and it is known as the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports since 1985 when the International Youth Year was observed.
The formal national sport of India is field hockey. However, the most watched sport in India is cricket. In the arena of field hockey, India is the winner of eight Olympic gold medals. New Delhi, the national capital of India, was the venue for the prestigious Asian Games in 1982. New Delhi currently houses state-of-the-art infrastructure for sports and same type of infrastructure is being built in other states and provinces of the nation. Other than games and sports featured in the global sporting schedule, there are a number of native sports that have grown and become quite famous.
Many regional games and sports have gained fame in the country such as atya patya, air sports, carrom, bridge, fencing, cycle polo, judo, gymnastics, Gatka, karate, maallakhamb, kho-kho, rowing, roller skating, soft tennis, shooting ball, swimming, squash, ten-pin bowling, taekwondo, tug of war, tennikoit, yoga and yachting. These sports have committed followers and admirers and are regulated by the individual countrywide sports bodies.
India’s performance in games like field hockey has been commendable so far. The country has lifted the world cup in 1975 and achieved gold medals in the Olympics. In cricket, India is two-time champion of the World Cup – in 1983 and 2011. The Pakistan Cricket Team is its archrival. It also won the Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka in 2002 and 2007 ICC World Twenty-20 title. India is doing well in cricket but its performance in football has been lackluster for a significant period of time. At present, the rank of India in the FIFA ratings is 154 which are quite disheartening. Comparatively, the performance in basketball is satisfactory. In tennis, Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes have been winners in a number of Grand Slam tennis tournaments. Vijender Kumar is a known name in the boxing circuit, enjoying the top rank in the middleweight category. In badminton, Saina Nehwal is the fourth best player in the world. The popularity of golf is also on the rise. In chess, Vishwanathan Anand has glorified India and has won World Chess Championship beating Gelfand of Israel recently. Games like motorsports are still in the nascent stage in the country and India is lagging behind in terms of infrastructure and other facilities that are essential to make India a prominent name in world sports. Financing is also a major issue which hinders the growth of sports in India.
Despite our huge size in terms of population, we have not been able to leave our impact on international sports. Otherwise also, Indian sports have not been able to achieve the standard which they were supposed to achieve. Athletes have been much below the standard and since the Olympic Games started India has been able to bag hardly a few gold medals. Moreover, most of the medals were bagged either by our Hockey team or by our wrestlers. Does it mean that the people in India have no interest in sports and games?
In fact it has been again and again pointed out that politics in the Sports Organizations of India has spoiled the sports. The selections are mostly based on favoritism and some of the outstanding sports persons are just ignored because they do not happen to be related to some influential person. Moreover, the sports bodies go on planning tours and matches fielding sub-standard sports person without thinking that the national pride will receive a serious set-back in case we are unable to win. Some of the Ministers and the political leaders want to be at the helm of affairs so that they may be able to embezzle sports funds. Under such circumstances, it is not possible to raise the standard of sports in India.
Another reason for the decline of sports in India is that we have been mostly concentrating upon the young people living in the cities. We have ignored the villagers, the tribal people and others. In fact those who live in the cities generally do not enjoy good health because of the polluted atmosphere and filthy environment. As they are brought up in the lap of luxury they cannot be hardy people. But in order to draw the attention of the villagers to sports we will have to have playgrounds as well as the facility for playing games in the villages. Competitions among the villages should be arranged periodically. The sports competitions should be given much publicity and should be organized on a grand scale. Similarly, some adventurous coaches should get hold of the tribal young people for imparting training in the different fields of sports and games. Perhaps these people can participate in some of the sports events like long jumps, archery, high jumps and races in a more successful manner.
Sports persons in India have to suffer because they are not given proper facilities. Sportspersons need very rich diet and also certain other conditions which may develop their talent properly. Some of the top sportsmen or women are given jobs in good firms but the sportspersons of the lower grade are completely ignored. When they retire from active sports they do not have anything to fall back upon. No financial help is given by any institution. This discourages the young people from taking part in sports. Above all sports facilities are not provided to the young children in big cities. They cannot play whichever game they like, only because they have to go to far off places for joining a club or a sports organization. There should be playgrounds in every colony and every child should have a free access to it. Moreover competitions among them should be encouraged. It is better if some dynamic person should be given the duty of producing good sports-men or women. Till we make a definite policy for developing sports in India, simple training and coaching will not help them. There should be free exchange of sportsmen and women so that they are able to learn something about the international standard.