Regretting that majority of the country's young population does not have access to sport facilities, Maharashtra governor SC Jamir on Sunday said that sports should be made a compulsory part of syllabus.
"I personally feel that we should seriously think of making sports and games a compulsory part of educational syllabus in our schools and colleges," said Jamir, who was here to present the Shri Chhatrapati Puraskar to meritorious sports-persons.
"The single-most competitive advantage which India enjoys is that India's youth population is growing. This demographic dividend can be availed by media only if we could nurture our youth," he said.
Out of about 77 crore people in the country who are below 35, only five crore have access to organised sports, the Governor pointed out.
"Out of 10.31 lakh schools in the country, only 48 per cent have access to playgrounds...we will have to change this disquieting picture," he said.
When it comes to nurturing sports culture, India can emulate Cuba which "boasts of 2 million athletes", he said.
"We should seriously introspect whether we treat our sports superstars well...we often read about a former Olympian living in penury," the Governor said.
Jamir said that administration of sports also required "urgent attention".
Narrating an incident dating back to late 60s, when he was a minister in the Centre, he said that once, during football match between Russia and India, he noticed that one of the Indian players was not playing at all.
"Officials told me that that player was a son of a high-ranking official. I was very upset and asked that player to be recalled...The newly sent player scored the goal for the country within minutes," Jamir said.
"We will have to take definitive steps to reorganise our sports bodies," he said.
In the face of upcoming sports events, such as the next year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, "Maharashtra must have its own strategy to put up our best performance," he said.