Monday, April 26, 2010

IPL, Hockey and Sports in India

Congratulations to Chennai Super Kings !! The IPL 3 Champs !!!

The Cricket has reached to altogether a new level with the initiation of Indian Premier League (IPL).There is money, there is talent, there is foreign exposure with the induction of foreign players, there is glamour, there is infrastructure, there are best coaches, there are best facilities, there is no political interference (almost negligible), there are privately owned franchisees, there is brilliantly designed league system, there is entertainment, there is aggressive marketing, there are franchisees’ merchandise sold to the fans, there is a crazy crowd to watch it, there is superb commentary, there is competition, there is pride involved, there is profit for the owners…what else do you need for a Sports League to succeed ??

There is no doubt , IPL has brought India to the limelight in the sporting world.

But, sports in India, despite all this, is in a terrible predicament. If the entire money and attention goes to one sport, where will the other equally deserving mortals go ? The success of IPL shows that – ‘will to do’- is a very important element in any endeavour, whether its preparing a maggi or signing on a document granting the funds for the construction of roads in villages or in improving the plight of sports in India.

This ‘will’ is amazingly lacking in the Sports administration of India. India finished 8th in the just concluded Hockey World Cup. Did we see anybody from the administration appreciating their improved performance given the fact that we were ranked last in the world (12th or 13th) prior to the world cup…?? They may also win a tournament in the forthcoming months but their victories may not be acknowledged. Here is the problem. We don’t nurture our sportsmen.

No matter how better we strategize to improve Hockey, results would be seen only with improved administration and transparency. Look at Hockey Australia. They upload the minutes of their meeting on their website to bring about utmost transparency. There is no limit imposed on the number of sponsors. On the contrary, they give the advertisements to invite the sponsors for the team as well as for the individuals. In Germany and Spain, emphasis is laid more on competitive and professional domestic league.

If we could meticulously execute IPL in India then I don’t see any reason we can’t do it for other sports. I am not asking for IPL-like management in other sports but certainly a better administration which is transparent, flexible, open to ideas, accountable and the one which also appears fair in its proceedings. The rest will depend on the popularity of the sport which will come from quality.

Its not only about providing better infrastructure and facilities to the sportsmen but also the emotional support, motivation and recognition. The government was in doldrums and could not come up with a clear thought on the issue whether Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar should be awarded the Khel Ratna or not, for a quite long time. I believe that the achievement of these Olympic bronze medalists should be acknowledged and if we fail to do that , we will end up doing disservice to the sports in the country.

We should make the people feel that they also have a future if they play good badminton, good chess or if they can throw a discus to a great distance !! That will encourage the couch potatoes of the country to go out and play and do some physical work. It will make India a healthier and a fit nation.

Sports is one field which can bring pride to the nation. I , myself being a sportsman, never got an opportunity and motivation to build a career in sports. Despite being a quick sprinter , my skills never got acknowledged. This shouldn’t happen with the millions of kids aiming high to make a career in sports.
Everything rests on the will to improve, the will to accept the weaknesses, the will to shed egos, the will to strategize, the will to Lead and the will to be THE BEST !!!

Nurture these kids and very soon , we will be mining Diamonds !!

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