As we stand today, Indian sport is a fount of possibility— fast growing in opportunity, slow moving in delivering results, promising in its chaos. Sports management is a legitimate field of study that imparts knowledge on the business of all levels of sport, and is helping bright-eyed youngsters ‘follow their passion’ and channel it into specific directions of interest.
Go! India’s Sporting Transformation features never-before-seen collection of essays by leading athletes, sports writers and professionals, who together tell a compelling story of India’s ongoing sporting transformation.
Here are 7 challenges India faces that if addressed will help us reach new heights in sports:
Sport in India has been viewed as a form of leakage of capacity and intent. The time spent on sporting activity was time spent not doing something more meaningful. Devoting time and energy to sport was in effect drainage of potential; time and attention paid elsewhere would be deemed to pay richer dividends.
Sports as a career was a very high-risk choice, one in which being successful was no guarantee of being able to make a half-decent living.
The idea of engaging in sweaty physical activity was seen to be a lower-order pursuit. What was valorised were the preoccupations that involved the upper body. The mind and its exertions were exalted, and there was a strong class connotation attached to things physical.
The game of hockey had changed in character, and post the arrival of the astro-turf, the Indian lack of athleticism caught up with the team.
Sporting federations across different sports displayed the same craven need for power, combined with a callous disregard for the sportsperson. The people charged with the responsibility of promoting sports have traditionally been the single-most important reason for the state that sport has languished in.
We had a passive relationship with our bodies…..We increasingly think of our bodies as malleable and within our control. We can shape them, mould them as per our need, protect them, and use them to extract more life.
Apologies… do not come easily to sports federations in India. That would mean the admission of an error and accountability to someone other than themselves. That doesn’t happen enough—neither the governors of an Indian sport admitting errors, nor feeling the need to be accountable.
Go! India’s Sporting Transformation is available now!