Nelson Mandela once said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”

Having been a part of the sports industry for close to 5 years fairly nascent for a historical journey of an industry in a country as large as ours. It was ambitious to identify the need for rapid development in Indian sport; the roots were to be shaken. Hence the quest for roots was the academic journey; organizational structures, good governance and administration were understood to be deepest, strongest roots.

While science teaches you a plant cannot survive without the roots however nature allows you to nurture regenerative roots and for us they were more structured organizational structures, greater governance of the sport and administrative values.

Sport in general has had a long journey from recreational activity to standing in the world as a symbol of peace and unity. Like the tree it nurtures as it grows and provides fruits of benefits; commercialization in our case. The commercialization of sport has equally benefitted the sport. But the demand for the fruit increased and the tree couldn’t hold through hence the coming of corruption, immediate need for reorganization, change of governance etc.

Indian sport was well watered and flourished with Cricket and reached soaring heights to have lived it’s complete potential for millennial to see but the longevous will say it’s been a slow and steady evolutionary change and there’s more to come. While cricket flourished into the blossoming tree no other sport moved to adapt the changing times, and rather worked out a revolutionary measure to adapt or mimet a structure of success. When a beautiful blooming tree is as grounded as cricket, it encourages other sports to think alike.

The global audience had their eyes on India; they acknowledged the existence of Indian sport and the prime target audience was our youth population. Sport existed but it was time to bloom, bear fruits and reap benefits. Sports organization was getting more professional; administration was being called upon for transparency in governance. India was now looked at global leaders for new gardeners to help their vegetation flourish. We hired international industry professionals, reorganized our structures removed corruption and worked towards an attempt to commercialize other sports and blossom, leagues were being formed and the world was watching; leagues such as World Series Hockey and now Pro Kabbadi and a traditional, regional Indian sport was getting more fandom and for once it actually had larger audiences on match days.

Money was being pumped back into sport to help not just athletes but develop the sport as a whole. Stories of several other trees blossoming were impressive and a lush green verdure was made.

But India is huge, populous and there is a lot more do, a lot more to achieve with the massive citizenry we still celebrate 204 athletes going for Olympic Games in 2016 to Rio and United States sends 520 athletes with a lower population.

Standing on the start of 2017 we accomplished much, we have bigger and better leagues such as Premier Badminton League, Pro Wrestling league and Indian Super League (Football) that have developed sports, better structures for not just development of sport but even welfare of athletes for example the Olympians Association of India who cater to former Olympians and more, the Adecco Program etc.

We have now successfully identified the need for sustainable development, ecosystems are being drenched with the right feed, changes in the being implemented at even the organizational and administrative roots of the tree but we are far from ecological sustainable development for our verdure. We haven’t even reached our prime. While we covetously aim to replace a historical journey of mere foliage to lush frondescence of Indian sports and for the world to view us as even a power house of sporting dominance and a propagation of peace and spirit of sport in the vastly democratic nature of our existence.

I end with this inspiring quote from Martin Luther King “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle”.

Juthika Mehta
Sports Management
Sports Organisation and Administration
IISM Associate Faculty