Despite poor infrastructure in their respective sports, three local sportspersons brought glory to the nation by winning medals in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at Glasgow. This only goes on to show that Ludhiana has tremendous potential to not only represent India but win medals at the international level too.
As August 29 is observed as 'Annual Sports Day' every year, HT reached out to some of the recent achievers and other active members in the sports fraternity from the city and discussed the status of sports activities in the region and the scope for their improvement in our country.
21-year-old Vikas Thakur, who won a silver medal in weightlifting at Commonwealth Games, said, "Although things are getting better on the national level, a lot needs to be done at the district and state-levels. Poor infrastructure, incompetent training measures and lack of awareness with regard to balanced diet (an essential part of the game) is what is keeping the talented lifters from coming to the forefront".
"We are still far behind in terms of introducing advanced technology and scientific methods unlike players from developed countries who possess a deep knowledge about the game and indulge in performance enhancement techniques regularly," he added.
On the other hand, Arpinder Singh, who won a bronze medal in triple jump in CWG has a slightly different take on this issue. "Indian coaches and players work extremely hard and that is what makes us stand apart." However, even Singh feels that technological enhancement will make a difference in areas where Indian sportspersons are lagging behind. He added that the introducing stadiums and academies in rural areas of the state would help tab budding sportspersons from the region.
Ludhiana basketball association president, Teja Singh Dhaliwal, said, "Identification of hidden young talent by visiting schools in the rural areas and providing them with professional training and residential amenities will certainly change things for better. The Punjab basketball team has made a mark at the national level but I believe there is scope for improvement. We need professional trainers, dieticians and adequate infrastructural development to harness a sporting culture".
The shooting range project at Sunet, Indoor stadium at Pakhowal road,
All-weather swimming pool at Rakh Baag among other are already hanging fire for years now and shockingly, the existing infrastructure for many sports such as swimming, cycling, hockey, football and weightlifting among other is also not maintained properly.
Amrik Singh Nagra, coach at Nursery of Cricket, Centre for Excellence, said, "There is no dearth of talent in our country, but we certainly have to work to develop better infrastructure for almost all the major games. Secondly, the lack of professional coaches is also a concern and needs to be addressed at the earliest. We certainly need professional educated individuals who can dedicate themselves towards sports upliftment in this country."