Indians, today, are striving hard today to match the global competition in terms of corporate and political status. In this pursuit, when they feel very tired or exhausted by the ambitious routines they find themselves resorting to playing some sport game for relaxation, provided all other forms of recreation are worth avoiding. Games and sports are just a form of refresher packages amidst the busy lives, and the present trends are ensuring more of it in the future. Even children and students are busy scripting their safe future or earning means of bread and butter for themselves. The society has allotted a post-secondary place to games for all levels of people, each with different reasons for their ends.

The lone victim of modernization is the state of sports in the nation and India has to bear the shame in international events like the recently concluded Olympics. It was one of the classical, though cliché examples, where we stood no place among other nations. Although this was by far the best performance of India ever in The Games, we were far short of the mark set by our compatriots and equally poised neighbor, China. While we are groaning under the grievances of population explosion, China with greater numbers have proved to the world that population is not that significant a factor that contributes to a nation’s backwardness.

The major blame falls back on the government for providing negligible resources to the sports persons, and of course nil encouragement. Funds allotted for games across the states are insufficient to groom a single football team. The centre still has better resources that can support greater strength, but not as many as it is supposed to. Our national game, hockey struggles to get proper coaches and training sessions. The trainers and physicians recruited are better only on paper. The result was evident when India’s eight-time gold medalist couldn’t even qualify this time. Let me assure you, this has not only to do with the quality of the game being displayed by the players. Ignorance goes hand in hand with poor performance. The greatest source of inspiration, the remuneration provided to people representing the nation is scant for a life of comforts that a player otherwise deserves to maintain the standard of his game. Newspaper reports on the lives of players are testimony to the poor circumstances.

The only game that manages to survive the test of times is cricket, which has been continuously revived over the years through revisions of formats and rules. Even here, the initiative, largely, has been on the part of the corporate and advertisement sector, which have been battling it out for TRPs and personal popularities. The government is still found short of efforts. The influx and interest for the game has been only as a response to the popularization being carried out by some visionaries. The beneficiary is India.

But other forms of games like athletics, swimming, wrestling, boxing, and all categories that enlist in the Olympics are alien-ware to the Indian youth. Those who do have the talent in games other than cricket have to slog out with the local authorities and other organizations to even get into the so-called teams. The state-level teams are way below standard as per international standards. This has got very less to do with the sporting talent and abilities. When one does not get the support when his game needs it, be it financial or moral, how can a sportsman flourish? Games like 100m-sprints, hurdles, relays, volley-ball, etc, are agendas only on the school time-tables. Neither does the local administration have the privilege to exercise these games, nor do the youth practice them anywhere.
What surprises and frustrates me a lot is that a nation of billion plus population of infinite diversities and tastes cannot produce a bunch of people passionate about the physical battles. Olympics 2008 gave India the best ever medals-tally, but such feats are suspicious in the future. There seem to be no encouragement among the youth or the government to harness the sporting talent that the citizens have and use it to make a name for the country. There is lot to be done on both ends before the next games so that we can turn up with some respectable standings.

Arindham Chakroborty

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