Concrete measures and plans need to be in place at the grassroot levels for India to consistently reap rewards in sports.
The foundations of every project need to be strong to get long term returns. It applies to every industry, so sports is no different. The journey of a nation towards becoming a sporting superpower needs consistent investment through a structured program in grassroots. This will deliver numerous benefits, one of which is the National Sports Talent, which, when nurtured, delivers international sporting success, youth icons, Olympic glory & national pride.
Grassroots development is the fundamental step in building a strong sporting community in the country. Students in private schools often get access to better sports infrastructure and coaches compared to students in government schools.
Meanwhile, talent in rural areas go unnoticed due to lack of facilities. Statistics indicate that 42% of our population indulges in cricket but less than 13% take up other sports due to lack of adequate facilities, awareness, and guidance.
Private stakeholders have a big role to play
The private sector plays an important role in this eco-system. Most of the companies still consider sports as a CSR activity and contribute merely a mandatory 2% to the development of sports at the grassroots level. As per one of the reports, the contribution towards grassroots development is less than 2% of the total CSR spending.
Although some companies such as Reliance, JSW Steel, Aditya Birla group, PVR group, Adani are doing well in terms of the development of sports, other organizations also need to identify the potential and support the Indian sports eco-system. For years, Tata trust has been involved in the promotion of sports and athletes. Primarily they also support athletes who have performed well at the state or national level.
Government Initiatives and Programs
National sports programs such as Khelo India Youth Games, Khelo India University Games, Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), Khelo India Talent Hunt are playing an important role in the identification of the young talent and nurturing them to achieve success in respective sport.
The government is focussing on providing the best infrastructure and facilities to the Athletes in terms of Coaching, Nutrition, financial support, and also basic education for the holistic development of the Individual. The plans are there in place by the government, but the efficiency in execution will decide whether it will meet the long-term goals.
Considering the abundance talent in sports India possesses, it is very important to create a plan and structure the grassroots training and development of the Athletes and increase awareness and participation amongst sports. This will not only help us take a step towards our ultimate goal of winning multiple Olympic medals and trophies, but it will also empower the youth and help in the holistic development of the Nation.
By Archil Katiyar