India is second largest country in terms of population and third largest economy in PPP (purchase power parity) terms. However, if we see its performance in games and sports at Olympic level, it is quite dismal. Performance at Rio Olympics in 2016 had been very disappointing with only one Silver and one Bronze medal. So far, India has secured only 9 Gold medals, 7 Silver medals and 12 Bronze medals from 1900 to 2016. Out of these 9 Gold medals, 8 were secured in Hockey. Only Abhinava Bindra secured Gold medal in individual event of shooting. Boxing, Wrestling, Badminton, Tennis and Weightlifting are other areas of games and sports in which India could make some presence in Olympic in recent time.
However, if we look at the performance of China, it was very poor without any medal in 1952 at Helsinki. Then it stopped participating in Olympic due to political and other reasons. However, after its re-entry in Olympic Games since 1984, its performance kept on improving with time and barring 1988 Olympic at Seoul, it always remained under 4 in medal tally in Olympic Games. But, what went wrong with India that it could not do well in games and sports at Olympic even after moderate economic growth of over two decades?
Career in games and sports are very risky inIndia. And unless and until this risk is mitigated through proper policies support, proper talent can’t be tapped for games and sports. There needs to be some institutional mechanism to identify the talent and nurturing them for games and sport. Normally investment required in nurturing and grooming sport persons right from early age is very high which can not be afforded by many sport persons. Even if some of the talented person who can afford the expenditure, then there is a risk that if they do not become successful at national and international level what they will do in their professional life. This predicament creates a barrier for many talented people to make a career in games and sports.
There needs to be an institutional mechanism at district level to identify talented boys and girls below 12 years by organising games and sports at District level annually. Identified talented boys and girls can be trained at the cost of State at District level. These boys and girls after proper training should be made to participate at State level games and sports and those qualified at State level can be trained by similar state level coach. Similar procedure may be implemented for national level also. Government should make arrangements to provide post sports career opportunities for sports persons. There should be age relaxation and reservation quota in recruitment for sports persons that may vary from district level players to international players. Suppose if a International level player is given 15 years of age relaxation and quota in Group A services of government, the national level players may be given 12 years of age relaxation and quota in Group B service and so on. Those who could not be given job can be be given life long living allowances based on their performance at various level. Even corporate should also encourage in providing employment to sports person as their corporate social responsibility. This way talent will come out that will bring laurel at international level events.