India needs infrastructure in order to create champions: Viswanathan Anand

  • Viswanathan Anand
  • Updated: Jul 10, 2014 17:24 IST

Emerging India has thrown open its door to a multitude of opportunities to many global companies.

As a sportsperson and an Indian, there are two areas that I see great opportunity. One is undoubtedly sports and the other is education. The thread that binds these two areas is infrastructure.

We hear the 'I' word being used in every economic daily almost like the next new economic mantra. Apart from basic roads, water and electricity, we need to look at infrastructure in building 'mind champions'.

Since Chess stands at the crux of both education and sport, getting a child connected to the right set of values and skills is the key to success. This is where sports and education come in.

Only if the infrastructure is available can we create a pool of children interested in sports and from that we can pick out probable champions. The story of most great sportspersons comes from the fact that the sport was accessible to them at an early age.

The familiarity the environment creates is a great motivator in enabling the child to stay in the sport. I play chess because a chessboard was available in my house. The chess club was a mere 10 minutes drive. But I was a city kid.

If we want the next generation of children to be world leaders and world beaters they need to come from beyond the city. That's where the chessboard has to go in search of them and not the other way round.

Only a trained workforce can usher in economic opportunities for India. And it could start right from the school, by including subjects like Chess in the curriculum as its helps improve academic performance.

My joint initiative with NIIT, for popularizing Chess in schools through the Mind Champions' Academy is one such successful example. We have seen children create a chess platform using their unique language. The key is that it's there, It's simple and it doesn't drain too much of limited resources available to a school.

Infrastructure has to enable in creating better classrooms and better sports facilities.

Since a road once built connects people, sports champions bring people pride. And that's where the great opportunity resides.

(Viswanathan Anand is a five-time World Chess Champion & NIIT Mind Champion)

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