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Beyond Beijing

One striking theme of the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony was the pledge that the flame will continue to burn in every hearts despite physically dousing it, writes Meren Longkumer.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2008, 17:14 IST
Meren Longkumer
Meren Longkumer
Hindustan Times

After all the fanfare and fireworks at Beijing we should now breath and deliberate on what to do next lest we shelf off all the crying demands for extensive revival for other sports beyond cricket.

Some weeks have passed now as we witnessed and celebrated our own best haul at Olympics. We are now witnessing some pundit's prediction that the post-medals euphoria calls will wane away because nothing concrete is taking place till date.

But meanwhile, media's chase on our medallists Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh will go on till the next Olympics in London. They are now what one of my friend says, "goldmine for news feeds", commodified equally by corporate people. Good tidings then for the three guys (it is worth their medal winning acts), their words will be weight in gold, their sheer presence and name will be unwaveringly sought for the next four years. My colleague says their talk-time validity is for four years now (how sad for our cricketers whose corporate validity depends largely on their performance during a single series).

One striking theme of the closing ceremony was the pledge the Olympic flame will continue to burn on every hearts despite physically dousing the flame.

If there we are to envisage bigger success than this year change needs to come from individuals within and equally from sports administrators and the government. To embrace and promote sports other than cricket, change in our attitude and the way we treat them is crucial. We have to pull our socks up.

Here is an open suggestion to everyone connected to sports in India:

1. Make any sports (either indoors or outdoors) be one of the compulsory curriculums in school right from the beginning depending on the choice of the student.

2. Every neighbourhood should have at least few sports that are freely accessible to the public.

3. Inter-school, inter-state, inter-zonal tournaments should be organized and telecast from local TV stations.

4. Local authorities should "Every participant gets a prize" event to encourage outing for kids.

5. Sports should not be accessible only for those who can pay club membership.

6. Sports authorities should have the mechanisms to catch the talented young all round the year.

7. All sports facilities, infrastructure and talent hunt should spread beyond the metros.

8. Bicycle rides should be encouraged and given proper space.

9. Every week and month there should be some big sporting tournament in at least one part of the country, which has be telecast live.

10. Centre and state government should financially help (with pension promise) those proven sports person if they are interested in pursuing greater heights.

To look beyond Beijing and engaging ourselves with the 'flame' will yield wonders like the quantum leap of the Chinese from one medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics to where they are now.

It is time we stop repelling from other sports. On the lawns of the India Gate in New Delhi, one will see more than 20 cricket games but not other sport on a Sunday afternoon. It would be a delight to see when other sports like soccer, volleyball and others would flourish alongside fewer cricket matches.

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