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The Current status of sports in India
Gurpreet Singh9/14/2019 8:54:20 PM
A wide range of games and sports are played in India. Undoubtedly, Indian sports have made a remarkable contribution at the international level, most importantly cricket, which has left such an impact on the minds of people that they worship it with full devotion, as if it is the fifth religion. Despite the facts and records, the present condition of sports in India, except for cricket, is nevertheless pathetic. Cricket undoubtedly gets the best management and sponsors of the country, probably due to its popularity and craze among the people. But the question is- Are other sports getting what they deserve and demand? The answer is obviously a big NO.
When we think of the word 'sports' we construe it as a past-time, a means of leisure and a key to fitness, but do we think of it as a career? It is estimated that out of ten people only one aspires to take up sports as a career. When asked why, the apparent answer we get is "there is no scope". When we dig deeper, we get to know that people consider sports as an activity that is limited to school and nobody goes beyond that to think of it as a means of earning ones daily bread. Parents refrain from encouraging their children from opting for sports as a career and teachers also lay more emphasis on studies. Sports do not command the same amount of respect as studies. But for people like Unmukt Chand; The 19-year-old failed to attain the minimum attendance required by his college because of his tournaments, but after much debate, he was allowed to sit for the examinations. This instils a hope that the times are changing, the old notions are fading away and new ones are being adopted. The government of India has also introduced various incentives for the promotion of sports such as the 'Come and Play' scheme India's sports budget for the year 2016 was Rs.1592 crore with a hike of Rs.50 crore from last year. These figures are comparatively lesser as compared to a country like China which has approximately 55,000 crores allocated to their sports. The world sports economy is approx. USD 500 billion and India's contribution towards it is less than 15%. India's sports economy is poised to be one of the top 5 in the world in the next 15 years, but in order to reach such a milestone India requires huge investment in sports human resource development, training coaches programs, sports infrastructure, sports science, school sports, high performance centers, Centers of Excellence, sports academies and sports education. TV viewership of sporting properties are growing consistently, with IPL having 182 million viewers in 2017, ISL 429 million, Pro Kabaddi 400 million and Hockey India League with 41 million views. Advertising revenue in sports have grown significantly since the start of IPL. There has always been a convergence of the sports and entertainment industry. India's digital population is also high and this could be one of the strengths for promoting sports in India. Rio Olympics saw India participate with its largest contingent till date, but had to draw consolation with just one silver and one bronze medal. The highlight of the global event was Badminton player PV Sindhu, who won her first silver medal losing to Carolina Marin of Spain in the Women's final, while Sakshi Malik won a bronze in the final of the 58-kg Women's Freestyle wrestling. The fact that the two women emerged to hold up the Indian flag against some very tough competition was a remarkable and praiseworthy achievement. But it was Dipa Karmakar's most unexpected 'Produnova' moment that won her millions of fans back home, when she pipped leading gymnasts to reach the final and missed the bronze medal by a whisker. She continues to be an icon for other enthusiastic gymnasts,
Some of the fact regarding currents situation of sports in India
Rio Paralympics: India's Paralympic athletes came out to demonstrate that India had more sports champions in her fold than she was aware of. They collectively made the nation proud and drew attention to the fact that para athletes, too, could bring laurels for the nation and deserved the same recognition as regular champion achievers.
India won the Men's Kabaddi World Cup for the 3rd consecutive time, defeating three-time finalists, Iran. The achievement is even more significant since this event drew a total of 114 million viewers in India and overseas, and 20.3 million for the finals, which makes it the highest non cricketing event watched in the country. For a sport that has had little support or attention, the viewership numbers, as released by BARC TV Viewership Database, has been a revelation. Here, it is worth mentioning that Sindhu's Silver medal Rio match was watched by 16.7 million viewers.
Junior Hockey:
In December, Indian colts won the 2016 Junior Men's World Cup, defeating Belgium in the final, thus bringing 2016 to a close on a high for Indian sports. The win was remarkable given that India last won the World Cup in Junior Hockey in 2001.
Pro-Boxing: Vijender Singh, India's Bronze medal winner in 2008 Beijing Olympics and now a professional boxer, retained his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title defeating Francis Cheka of Tanzania in a championship bout in New Delhi in December. This was his 8th consecutive win.
Badminton: Besides her Olympics achievement, Sindhu won the Malaysian Masters and the China Open in 2016 to continue to remain in contention for reaching the Top 5 ranking in 2017. Besides Sindhu, other Men's tournament players have also been turning out some terrific performances in 2016.
Cricket: It's been a great year for Indian Cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin was named ICC Cricketer of the Year for 2016 and also named ICC Test Cricketer of the Year. He ended the year being ranked No#1 Test Bowler. Ravinder Jadeja was ranked No#2 Test Bowler for 2016, a feat last seen in the '70s when Bishen Singh Bedi and BS Chandrasekhar were ranked No#1 and No#2 respectively. Karun Nair created a world record by scoring a triple hundred (303 not out) in only his 3rd innings, surpassing Len Hutton's triple ton in 9 innings, Don Bradman and John Edrich's triple tons in 13 innings. He created this record against England in the 4th Test played in Chennai in India. India broke another record when the team notched up 759 for 7, their highest ever in Tests, in the same match. India beat England 4-0. Virat Kohli ended as ICC No#1 ranked player in T20 format and Ranked No#2 in Test and ODI. He emerged as India's leading cricketer in all three formats of the game, as he transitioned into an aggressive captain leading from the front. In 2016, Virat led India to reclaim the Test No#1 position after briefly losing it to Pakistan. He has amassed 973 runs in IPL, over 1000 runs in T20, and over 1000 runs in Test cricket. His Test average for the year is 55+, ODI average is 90+, and T20 average is 100+. The T20 Women's cricket team created history when they beat three-time world champions Australia for the first time, winning by 10 wickets, in Melbourne earlier this year. Cricket in India continues to remain the dominant sport of interest
Chess : 10 year old R Pragganandhaa became the world's youngest International Master in chess. He achieved this at the KIIT International Open in Bhubaneshwar with an ELO Rating of over 2400. He, thus, surpassed Judith Polgar, who, for 27 years, held the record as the world's youngest International Master.
Tennis: Sania Mirza continued to retain her World No#1 ranking in Women's Doubles. Her major achievements in the year were winning the Australian Open along with Martina Hingis, and Runners-up position in Mixed Doubles French Open along with Ivan Dodig. Leander Paes is perhaps the best role model as a champion sportsperson - indomitable in spirit and fitness, that younger generation of sportspersons must strive to emulate. He is 43 years old and has won the French Open this year along with another legend of the game, Martina Hingis. Leander continues to amaze and inspire fans across sports disciplines as a global ambassador for fitness and sportsmanship.
Golf: 18 year old Aditi Ashok has just been voted Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year 2016, capping a very successful 2016 for the young professional golfer. She has now received the card to play in the 2017 LPGA Tour. Earlier in the year, she won the 2016 Hero Women's Indian Open and Qatar Ladies Open. Aditi also turned out a sterling performance representing India at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Kickboxing: A wrap-up on the year's sporting achievements would not be complete without mentioning 8-year old Tajamul Islam. This young female kick boxer from J&K brought the nation glory when she won the Gold medal at the World Kick Boxing Championship in Italy this year. For someone who comes from a state where women are not known to participate in competitive sports, Tajamul's achievement is an inspiration to all girls in India that they too can dream big and make it happen, if only they remain motivated and focused on their goal. Dipa Karmakar showed that at Rio and now Tajamul has led the away in Kickboxing.
Conclusion: We might have a lot of Dhonis but it's difficult to find more Mary Koms and Sania Nehwals owing to the gender discrimination that has paved its way into sports. Sports and women are the two opposite ends of a pole. The society does not encourage girls to be an active part of sports, moreover they are considered to be delicate creatures and their potential in sports is questioned. Despite its huge population, India is almost always at the bottom in the Olympics medal tally because of the lack of facilities provided. The dreams of sportspersons of winning medals for India at the Olympics are shattered as they are not provided with proper resources. India still lacks good coaches, proper infrastructure and other helpful schemes which the government can provide, hence the failure to acquire medals.
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