Initially, I took up sports as a hobby, but when I realised the gravity of donning India colours and competing in the Olympics, it became a passion.
Thankfully, I was able to make the country proud at the Olympics. But for the honour of representing the country, I would not have been able to pursue the sport with such passion.
If a sportsperson is not allowed to compete under his country's flag, it is like taking the soul out of the body. So, for the spirit of sport and betterment of Indian sports, the ban on the Indian Olympic Association (by the International Olympic Committee) should be revoked when Indian officials meet the IOC in Lausanne on May 15. We should all, including the federations and government, develop a system so that such uncertainty does not arise again.
A sportsperson understands the requirements of his ilk better. So, they should be involved more actively in the federations. Former players who want to contribute should be included in the administrative setup and this combination of sportsmen and professional administrators will make a positive difference.
The federations should not restrict themselves to picking national squads and sending them abroad for competition. They also need to chalk up concrete plans to develop sport at the grassroots level and generate revenue. Some of the federations are doing a good job at the state and district level and that's why their results are better than the others.
Since it is public money that is being spent, fixing responsibility is a must to ensure that the taxpayers' money is not wasted.
The writer is the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in boxing.