A wide range of sports and games 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.
Cricket players are given so much attention by the media and advertising companies that it has made them millionaires. India wins one match against Pakistan or Australia and there goes the line of cash prices and cheques being showered on them by ministers and state governments. Even in terms of incentives, the other sportsmen lag far behind the cricketers. Hockey is our National sport, but the way it has lost importance in the past few years makes it difficult to digest the previous statement. It even failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. Not only hockey, but tennis, football, golf, badminton; all share the same pathetic condition. Neither the sponsors are interested in financing them, nor does the government raise enough funds. The Hockey team receives a meager Rs. 1000/- for every goal that they score, whereas those given to the cricketers do not require a mention. The infrastructure and proper training is also missing in other sports. Ace shooter Abhinav Bindra had the financial backing of his parents, but some of his other contemporaries just missed by a whisker, only due to lack of training. It is not that the other sports do not have good sportsmen, but the fact is that they are very scarce in number.
In the world cup, the Indian hockey team stood 11th out of a total of 12 teams. Even football has lost its importance to a great extent. Except for Goa and West Bengal, no other states are interested in football. When Gopichand won the All England Badminton Championship in Britain, no one cheered because in the same week, Harbhajan Singh took a hat trick and V. V. S. Laxman scored 281 runs in the Kolkata test against Australia.
Indian sportsmen hold important and unique positions in world sports. Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza in Tennis; Jyoti Randhawa in Golf; Pankaj Advani in snooker; Anand and Humpi in chess; Saina Nehwal in badminton; Kartikeyan and Chandok in F1; Bhutia in football; Anju in long jump; Rathore and Rana in shooting; are some of the names that deserve a standing ovation for the fame and glory that they have added to our nation by their performance in sports. The three sportsmen who scintillated with glory recently were Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar and Vijendra Kumar, by bagging gold and bronze medals at the Beijing Olympics in 10m air rifle, wrestling and boxing respectively.
In short, no sport in India except cricket is well managed. Indian sports are trapped in politics. New controversies arise almost every week. The financial status of the former sportsmen is very poor. Sports in India require a lot of improvement. Every sport has its own importance and deserves equal respect and management. The condition of the women teams is still poor. The government ought to analyze these issues before it takes some serious turns.