Over the past few months Indian sport was delivered a double whammy. First was our disastrous performance in the cricket World Cup. Second was when the government declared that hockey and football were no longer priority sports and relegated them to the likes of kabbadi, etc.
With the Commonwealth Games to be staged in Delhi in 2010, the question arises as why we are good at some sports but downright bad at others. Also, which are the ones on which we need to concentrate, to win even a modest tally of medals.
Many reasons have been listed for our general lacklustre performance in various sporting activities: poor training facilities, selection of the wrong coach, inadequate infrastructure, wrong diet, in-fighting in the governing body of the particular sport, lack of a killer instinct and so on.
Having done a fair amount of research on the subject one has found that the single biggest factor is the extent to which we need to move our feet. The less the better!
Take football where performance depends almost exclusively on dexterity and movement of the feet. Here India is almost at the bottom of the ranking of Football playing countries of the world.
Cricket, hockey, tennis, athletics etc., require the use and movement of both hands and feet and this is where our feet let us down. When Virender Sehwag was scoring centuries, the only complaint was that he didn't move his feet. Now that he has started doing so, he is in danger of losing his place in the Indian team.
Finally, consider snooker, billiards, archery, weight-lifting and shooting. At one time or another we have had champions in major or world events. These sports require that one's feet are planted firmly on the ground and must not move.
So what strategy should India adopt for the future? The only one that seems to work is putting one's best foot forward and keeping it immobilised!
Ravi Batra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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