10 Reasons Why India is Miserable at World Sports

By at 3 August, 2010, 8:40 pm

Is the definition of  Indian sports restricted to cricket only or do other games exist too?

Yesterday I met Sanjay, who would represent India in the Asian Games to be held this year. He has previously participated in various Judo competitions worldwide.

Sanjay (24) is a resident of Manipur and is currently employed in  the Indian Military Police. He is amongst some fortunate players who have been sponsored by the Military police. His training, equipment, coach fee,  travel and registration costs are government funded.

But there are very few players who receive such benefits. During our discussion I realized that there are various reasons which contribute to the unsatisfactory performance of Indians in international sports.

1. Too much Importance to Cricket :-

Cricket has been given outmost importance in India.  Games like hockey and Tennis have also gained popularity in the past but sports like judo, karate, rugby, football and squash are generally ignored by the masses.

2. Societal Pressure:-

Sports is thought to be a leisure activity in the country. Sports as a profession is largely condemned. The people prefer traditional careers over sports. Education is considered a pre-requisite to attain success. Sports is barely given any importance in schools. The players have to struggle between their rigorous practice schedule and school timings. They often have to choose between education or sports and the former wins almost every time.

3. Lack of Remuneration

Life of a sportsmen is considered  more of a struggle and less of an achievement. The profession guarantees financial safety only for those who are famous; the ones who are still struggling to establish their identity are hardly given any remuneration. Most of the potential sport-persons experience disillusionment and stress from the very beginning of their career and usually end up sacrificing their dreams.

4. Costs

The costs of  equipments and other facilities are very high. For example: most of the protein supplements are imported from Europe. A small  bottle of protein costs about Rs. 4,000 in India but the same bottle is considerably cheap for the European players in their currency.

5. Foreign Coaches:-

There is a dearth of competent coaches in India. Thus, a player has to rely on foreign coaches for assistance and training. The fees and expenses to hire a foreign coach cannot be easily met by an individual. Hence, most of the times the players have to make a compromise. Either they are given incompetent coaches or no coaches at all.

6. Travel Costs:-

Due to lack of funds Indian players are send only to selected competitions. India remains unrepresented in most of the competitions. The  players are  unable to afford the huge travel and registration costs and hence it is on the discretion of the government to decide whether India would be represented in a competition or not .

7.  Sponsorship:-

The multinationals and private companies are uninterested in sponsoring a game which people barely watch. Due to lack of private funding the  players have to completely rely on the government  funds.

8. Balancing Job and Sports

Sanjay has a rigorous practice schedule  from 6 am to 8 pm. Fortunately, the Military Police encourages him to follow his dreams. Not all employers provide their employees with funds, job salary and a healthy work atmosphere. It is almost impossible for players to  strike a balance between their jobs and sports.

9. Politics:-

Politics has dominated almost all spheres of Indian sports. Discrimination on basis of Regionalism at the time of selection is prevalent in all sports including cricket. Other factors like political recommendations and corruption have also affected the selection procedure adversely.

10. No Pension:-

A player is usually active till the age of 35 years. Most of the players  retire with no substantial achievements, education and financial security.  If they still wish to be connected with the profession; the only option available is to coach students and youngsters for meager amounts.

What needs to be done?

Nothing would change until we change our attitude. These games will attract sponsorship and private funding only when the people start appreciating them. Transparency must be brought in the selection procedure. Government may provide deserving players with more jobs and remuneration.

The educational institutions must also encourage the students to excel in sports and not only in academics.There are very few universities which provide for sports quota in higher eduction. Similar reservations must be made in other universities too. A change needs to be brought at every stage; if we expect India to perform well at the International level.

A player sacrifices a lot for his game. His spirit and dedication needs to be respected and not ignored by the nation.

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Categories : Sports

cool4u August 3, 2010

Very well written and thought out. Cricket’s the No 1 culprit. Hope ur friend gets a medal in CWG. It is so sad to see apathy towards all sports exceot Cricket in India, a game played by not more than a dozen countries the world over.

meghna August 3, 2010

thanks a lot.. I hope he gets a medal too.

Preeti S August 4, 2010

Government apathy is the main culprit , if they were to put forth encouraging policies the priavte sector would do its part and also all other factors would fall into place.
I hope Sanjay does well and does himself and the military police proud.
Today only resaonable affluent families of the like of A Bindra, Saina, etc encourage their kids to explore new sports..kudos to the parents!!

All the Best to Sanjay and God Bless!!

meghna August 4, 2010

I agree Preeti.. Government must take positive actions to promote sports in India.

Mukesh August 5, 2010

Hi I feel that Criket is given so much of importance because of the amount of monies involved in it. International event were not enougf now we have events like IPL. Criketers are considered as stars and celebrities. Indian Premier Legue was not enough now were are going to have Chapinos Legue. Nothing about football, marathon race, badminton etc. Only Cricket.

meghna August 5, 2010

Mukesh I think the one of the reasons behind preference of cricket over other games is that people watch it. Everyone wants to make money and cricket is surely an easy way out. The masses need to take interest in other games as well, if this is done we ll surely attract funds for other sports too.

Shreyas August 5, 2010

An excellent article!!!

Gr8 work. I hope we start valuing our players. India needs it big time.

meghna August 5, 2010

Thanks Shreyas.. I’m sure India will soon start valuing its players..

Sidhanth August 5, 2010

CRICKET CRICKET CRICKET!!..cmon guys!!..what has cricket got to do with the demise of other sports??..what can cricket do, if our hockey coaches start harrassing our young girls??..what can cricket do if suresh kalmadi and co. go about misappropriating funds for the cwg??..what can cricket do if leander and mahesh start quarelling over prize money issues??..what can cricket do if the ONGC- i league( its the football equivalent to the ipl) , despite being sponsored by the government, cant fill stadiums up??..what can cricket do if the weightlifters decide to let go of all moral ethics and take up performance enhancing drugs!!..the only way, these sports are going to develop, is when players, themselves, start performing on the big stage..for all those athletes making excuses out there, let me remind you that thierry henry, leo messi, pele, maradona,.. all these greats, were born in poor families.,, without proper shoes, equipment or facilities..but they made it big, didnt they??..instead of criticizing cricket, we must learn from it..sure, cricket had its match fixing saga, the lalit modi saga, the slapgate saga,..but so what??..cricket moves on,..and thats the key to success..they market the game in a remarkable way, bring sponsors in, etc etc..the people of india are not fools..the people watch cricket, because we compete at the world level., we have legends, and heroes..so all those crying and making excuses and pointing the finger at the government,..wake up, and get a taste of reality..if in the coming days, the footballers, the hockey players, our tennis players, pull their socks up, slug it out, and make it big, all the sponsors,.all the media, all the fanfare, will be headed their direction,. and god forbid, if the cricketers dont do their stuff, .it wont be long, before they are knocked of their perch..
its plain and simple,.
“survival of the fittest”..

meghna August 6, 2010

You have a point Siddhant but I guess its a vicious cycle. Players don’t have funds it affects their practices, they can’t perform due to number of reasons. Since they don’t perform well we don’t watch them, since we don’t watch them, the players don’t get funds. You can’t expect a player to win till you give him training, resources, encouragement and security. You have to trust him and believe in him. Unfortunately we hardly do that.

Romen Meitei August 23, 2010

You have a good point Siddhant, but we are concerned about the whole games and sports of India. You can’t expect all other players to win a medal all of a sudden and to be followed by people. Different games do exist and so different strategies, training, funding, etc required. For example, for Kabadi, we don’t need a foreign coach needn’t worry about the facilities, but for tennis or boxing, judo, taekwondo, fencing, etc. we need foreign coches and required facilities so we can make them win. India can not be said to be developed in sports even when an individual achieves a gold in olympics, but when players consistently in other disciplines. But it is not happening, because first reason is cricket being over emphasised. India was famous in hockey and football in the past, but look where is India now standing. You look at the different treatment received by the cricketers and other sports persons. Media’s concentration on cricket is too a factor. In India, in every or almost all papers or TV channels, there is a seperate section for Cricket. At this position, who will not want to play cricket and why people would prefer to play other sports? Think Mr. Siddhant, think! This attitude of the people or the masses and the Govt should be changed or widened. I too love cricket, but for devt of sports, I would say that India should search for other games where India can excel. Yes, that is my point. Look at other sports where India can constantly contribute its medal tally. *DO NOT PRAISE OR FOLLOW AFTER A SUDDEN ACHIEVEMENT OF SOME ATHELETES, BUT PRAISE AND FOLLOW THE ATHELETES FOR ACHIEVEMENT. If you do not provide required facilities, you must not expect from a player and if the player succeeds that is a bonus point. To be a medal winner at international stage, long term planning is the most important factor. But India is a strange country which can be termed as the hub of problematic factors. There is also partiality factor which hinders Indian sports. India does look at the people of North East especially Manipur with biasness. It is a proven fact. Corruption will have to be rooted out. At last, I would say India must be sincere enough.

Prashanth October 13, 2010

Cricket rocks. I love cricket more than my girl friend. Sachin is god for gods. .india is cricket . . Cricket is india

Prashant October 27, 2010

As i m more interested in sports….dis article was most attracting to me…..
I also want to share some experience with u
I am from a Delhi Govt. School where there was nothing for the name of sports.
Now when i think of the past……i thought there were a lot of my school mates which were so energetic and sporty persons but being in a Govt. School were not encouraged for sports by their parents and even by the teachers…..
So this is the major concern to take care….i m not talking about the private schools but the schools where children of common men are studying, the Govt. School, should include sports in students time table and give them preference as they are giving to computer education.

meghna November 20, 2010

You have a pointed out a major problem that exists in the system today. Private schools can afford expensive sports like basket ball and squash but what about government schools? They lack adequate infrastructure and faculity. I never thought about the problem from this perspective. I’m glad you brought this to the notice.

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