Published On: August 27, 2018

Around 82% of individuals drop out of competitive sport between the age groups of 15 – 18 years, when researched further, it was found that some of the contributing factors to the dropouts are academic pressure and lack of career opportunities in sports.

While at one hand we are producing gems like Hima Das, Sunil Chhetri, M C Mary Kom and Harmanpreet Kaur, the alarming numbers of sports dropouts put another perspective in front of us.

India has no dearth of sports gems, but what we lack is a sporting culture. A culture that is required to be established, nourished and passed on to the next generation.

Children contribute largely to shape the future of the country which is why the implementation of core sports needs to happen right at the school level which wasn’t a few years back. Yes, of course, P.T. periods were there but that did little to evoke a child’s interest in sports. Nodding to this statement Mr.Vinit Karnik (Business Head – Entertainment, Sports and live events at Group M) quips -“Changing the physical education or physical training session into a sports session, will inculcate the right values in a young child & motivate him enough to pursue a career in sports & the ecosystem will have to be scalable enough to adapt to that passion.”

Change always challenges the preexisting notions and beliefs. So, in order to witness a fruitful movement in that arena, it is important to be patient. As the mentality is gradually evolving and strategic approaches are put into use the shift will incur but definitely not in a day. Each time a parent encourages the kid to participate in sports voluntarily, it contributes to infusing that culture.

Adding another perspective quite positively Ms.Reema Sanghavi (MD – Maximus MICE & Media Solutions Pvt Ltd and Co-Founder, Pinkathon) exclaims – “Rome wasn’t built in a day. The changes will happen gradually. I think at a grassroots level, it’s of utmost importance for the parents to inculcate the value of sports in the children & motivate them to pursue sports.”

When we look at the viewership of sports it is much lesser than the viewership that entertainment genre gets. What sports lack here is the involvement of non-sports fans! While the broadcast happens for those who already know sports what about the ones who don’t watch sports but, may develop an interest? Raising the question rightly Mr.Sanjog Gupta (Senior Vice President, Star India Pvt Ltd) added –“I think what’s important is to involve more people into sports. Involvement could mean everything from running at pinkathon, going for matches, watching a game or just striking the conversation. Involvement is the first step.”

In India, sports shall grow only and only if the participation increases. While India has no dearth of sports fans yet the number is not up to the mark. As you find people appreciating sports in huge numbers, the culture of sports in India shall begin to sprawl.

Somehow it all boils down to implementing sports right at the school level. It is vital to infuse the interest in more and more people through broadcasting it for them. As Mr.Nilesh Kulkarni (Founder-Director, IISM) righty affirmed that “Initiatives like Khelo India are playing a commendable role in doing so.”

Perhaps, as the time will evolve there would be more individuals contributing to sports in one way or the other. The day is not far wherein we would be bagging maximum medals in Olympics and look back in the time where we are today.

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