New Delhi: India have topped the medal’s tally in the recent Shooting World Cup in Mexico. Navjot Kaur won the wrestling championship a fortnight ago. Indians have started to perform consistently in sports other than cricket. It looks like the time is right to make India a sporting nation as it is no longer obsessed with just cricket.
This is was the consensus between the three panellists of CNN-News18’s Rising India curtain raiser debate. The participants, resident commentator Ayaz Memon, senior editor Sharda Ugra and former cricketer Atul Wassan all feel that India is definitely starting to move towards becoming a sporting nation.
Khelo India is a project which promises a lot and Ayaz feels that the idea is to get onto the field and play. He feels the problem will come in getting the kids onto the ground. “This is the problem area that needs to be looked into. Will girls be able to access sports as easily as one would expect? These are the hardships. But all in all, I think it is a fantastic concept,” he said.
Sharda feels there should be no misuse of funds or power and only then can India become a sporting nation. “Three older sports policies have come together and the event that was held in Delhi had a lot of kids coming in and also having fun. Our top athletes are getting better and better served moving ahead. Shooting is a classic example. If 10 years ago someone told you that you will have so many medals, coming back from a Shooting World Cup, you would have laughed. It is an administrative flaw that exists and needs to be looked into,” she said.
Fan engagement has been one of the biggest reasons why cricket is worshipped in this country and that loyalty has to be brought into other sports as well to make them as successful feels Wassan.
“Too little too late is happening in sports in India. The priority is very low when it comes to sports in this country. Despite of the system, we do find odd glories. But other sports are catching up with cricket when it comes to popularity and that is a point. Investing in sports is an area that needs to be looked into as it is not feasible at the moment. Cricket is not a popular sport globally, but it connects with the ethos of Indian society. We need more heroes in other sports for people to start emulating them. Sports needs to provide a livelihood which wasn’t there 10 years ago,” he said.