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‘Sports infrastructure and sporting heroes most wanted in India’

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‘Sports infrastructure and sporting heroes most wanted in India’

The India International Sports Summit (IISS) 2010, an initiative of TransStadia, was held in Mumbai on March 25. The event highlighted ‘Broad basing sports infrastructure and facilities’.

Like the Indian Premier League (IPL) all sports need some improvisation and good packaging. Corporate, on the other hand, have to see sports as a profitable organization and sports should be seen as career and parents too need to encourage their children to participate in sports.’ These were some of the out come from the summit held in Mumbai.

Dileep Choksi, Founder- c3 Advisors, former Vice Chairman of Deloitte Haskins & Sells and Vipul Mittra, IAS- Secretary Tourism, Government of Gujarat were the key note speakers.

Choksi explained, “Infrastructure falls in two parts- minds and limbs. Involving corporate in sports and youth activities, developing talent, competition, developing coaching structure, accountability etc. are very essential in taking India to the next level in sports. We need to have events once or twice a month whether it be a vintage car rally, or even marathon, there has to be more participation among school and college going students. This apart, I believe we need to make sporting heroes as people look up to them.”

Mittra observed, “We need to take sports infrastructure and facilities to the grassroots as that is where lays the hidden talents. Ironically, we catch sports persons only when they become stars instead of catching them young. Like IPL, all sports can improvise. Corporates have to see sports as a profitable organization and so they need to also get into training, team building and this is when the government can come to help. Unless we package sports as a phenomenon it cannot reach the heights it should. The government’s role on the other hand is known as catalysts and can speed up.”

Another interesting session at the IISS 2010 was on ‘Creating Sporting Heroes’. Here the keynote speaker was Kapil Dev. The panelists included Lara Davenport, Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist (swimming) and Ambassador, Red Dust Foundation, Australia, Santosh Desai, Author, Columnist, MD and CEO Futurebrands, Yogesh Joshee, Matchworld UK (FIFA and UEFA licensed agent) and Nandan Kamath, Founder and Director, Go Sports. The session was moderated by Radhakrishnan Sreenivasan, Anchor and TV Commentator, Neo Sports.

In his keynote address, Kapil Dev said, “Sports has changed beautifully in India over the years, even technology is changing rapidly everyday and is essential for the promotion of sports. However, I believe the real change in our sporting culture will come when parents will begin to push their children to sports. Producing sporting heroes is very important as the nation looks up to them. I had many heroes in my life and to produce a hero one must be able to see the passion for sports in their eyes because there is nobody who becomes a legend who does not have passion for that sport. Therefore to make a hero, the government and sports federation has to put in extra time on sports infrastructure and that’s when we can produce sporting heroes.”

Some of the points raised by the panelists in this session were the importance for parents support and encouragement in a child’s life to excel in that sport, that the untapped areas are at the grassroots level because that is where one will find hidden talents in plenty. More than an individual it is the team that matters hence, if an IPL does not invest money in even the smallest ground in the country it will not be able to produce good team.

According to Davenport, “Swimming was something I had passion for, if you have support and a vision you can go anywhere and reach any heights. And if you can give the kids the opportunity to be around their sporting heroes that is when you can see the change coming.”

Joshee stressed, “We need to give grassroots infrastructure. We also need to focus on developing coaching structure, as a good coach will be able to identify the right players and be able to nurture them.”

Kamath highlighted that, as much as young kids need heroes he should also get the surrounding eco-system.

Kapil Dev also pointed out, “The IPL did a fantastic job but, if 10 per cent of the money does not go to the grounds it won’t produce good team but, perhaps only individuals. In fact, sporting constitution has to change more than anything else for the betterment of sports in India.”


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