Published: Published Date – 12:19 AM, Wed – 8 June 22
By Vijay Mohan Raj
Hyderabad: On 26th May 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Hyderabad to present the convocation address on the 20th anniversary of the Indian School of Business which is at present amongst the leading management institutions globally.
It was heartening to learn from the statistics that he reeled out to the audience that India is progressing in all fields of activity. However, what attracted my attention the most was the statements he made on the progress that our country has made in relation to the previous decade in the number of medals won by our sportsmen at international events.
The fact that the Prime Minister has endorsed the importance on sports and as a consequence sporting achievements by our youth is by itself an acknowledgement of the importance that the current policy makers have attached to the development of sports in the country.
Although there has been a creation of infrastructure in this past decade as also various incentives provided to sportsmen and women to participate and win medals at international level, there is surprisingly very little progress at the grassroots level.
The promotion of games, sporting achievements at school level continues to be dismal. It is taken for granted that extra-curricular activities are optional and the progress of the ward is dependent on the numbers that are achieved in academics with no weightage given to sporting achievement in the grades or ranks as the case maybe.
I wonder if I could concur that the achievements of our sporting heroes is because of the system that has been thrust on our youth or in spite of it.
In our playing days and even as club level, cricketers we were able to secure employment in corporate houses public or private enterprises as these institutions participated in local and national tournaments. This was the case in different branches of sport which incentivized young athletes to pursue a game that would help them is getting employment after they completed their education. This aspect has now been diluted with little or no importance by the authorities and publicity given by the media to club and corporate sporting events in the current scenario.
My submission is that we have done extremely well in recent times in international sporting events where in our performers have brought laurels to the country. However, I could conclude with conviction that we are capable of doing better.
This will surely happen if sport or other nonacademic talent enhancement is made part of the curriculum and the performance of the ward is assessed giving adequate weightage to this aspect of education.
My definition of grassroots is schools, colleges at urban and rural levels.
Performances should be assessed not only in relation with the past but by the potential that is adequately utilised in the present.
Former Ranji Trophy Player
Bombay and Hyderabad