There is a general feeling, in India, that we should not hold multi-sport events like Common Wealth Games, Asian Games, and Olympics etc. We view it as a waste of time and resources without any substantial value. And the probability of winning medals is also bleak. Our opinions are then backed by reasons, where we first want to improve our own sports and facilities up to international standards and then opt for these sporting bonanzas.
Sadly, we never had this same thoughts towards cricket. I bet, we will actively watch India-Australia Cricket and, as a side dish, follow Common wealth games (CWG) on ticker-tape running at the bottom of the T.V. screen. This shows our pecking order towards our games. Don’t we have some hackneyed approach towards our other sports?
Despite all our reservations, I believe, the Common wealth Games are a welcome event. We should have events to aid our sportsmen who seriously play other games besides cricket. It’s not easy to love and adopt games which are not popular or paying in the long run.
Multi-sport events need multi- specialities. They include sports medicine and nutrition. Long Jump, high Jump, pole-volt, gymnastics, fencing etc. cannot be organized, even at amateur levels, unless those facilities are fully equipped to handle the risks present in these sports. Trained support for sports will have to develop and spread along with the playing of these sports.
When we hold International Games, we not only give valuable exposure to our athletes but also develop and build our own sports infrastructure which is multi-dimensional in itself. Sports medicine, nutrition, coaching etc. needs active universities from where they can gain knowledge and spread throughout our country. Games are like an enterprise and it spawns its own eco-system. When promoted in right spirit it will build its own management and enrich our system. Games should be welcome to our other cities too and also our suburban towns.
Games have an organic development, which, like our crops, has distinct areas of followers and patrons. All sports cannot grow or be followed everywhere in the country. Hockey has its own pockets of followers and so is tennis and badminton. And Polo has its own specialized regions in India.
All developments have happened and will happen incrementally. Facilities will first diffuse in areas where a sport has specific followers. Why should there be a Hockey field and Shooting ranges at places where nobody follows this game? Well, it can spread but first it has to start somewhere. Even Cricket started as first somewhere in this country before it spread. And we cannot wait to have International competitive events till all sports and facilities have spread to all parts of the country.
It’s kind of sad, that an event arrives in India to a step-motherly treatment. Or is it good and given our low expectation, would it leave back some fond memories and seriously change things.