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Get real, the concept of honorary posts is rubbish

Unlike other walks of life, sports cannot be segregated into black or white. There are a lot of grey areas, like an athlete struggling for form or trying to regain it.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2011 01:35 IST
Hindustan Times

Unlike other walks of life, sports cannot be segregated into black or white. There are a lot of grey areas, like an athlete struggling for form or trying to regain it. In his career span, a player witnesses more reversals than success. It is here that a federation, comprising administrators well-versed with the technical aspects of the sport, can step in.

Taking care of issues like getting funding and marketing the sport is one aspect of administration, and can be taken care of even by politicians, several of whom are at the helm of various national sports federations (NSFs). When it comes to handling the athletes' needs, it is the job of experts. Unfortunately, in most disciplines this area has been handled poorly.

It's time we got real. The concept of honorary posts is rubbish. Running sports is not a joke and instilling professionalism and passion is what we should be striving for. After all, the ultimate aim is to win medals at the highest level. Keeping aside personal glory, my Olympic gold is embarrassing when I look at the country's history of participation in the Olympics!

To perform at the Olympic level is hard and an athlete needs to be nurtured till he gets there. The scenario is the here and it is the attitude of the administrators that is objectionable. Athletes are the responsibility of federations, but there are numerous instances of promising names being made to feel like liabilities.

At age 70, priorities change. It is a stage in life when one likes to play with grandchildren rather than worry about athletes' tickets and visa problems. Fair enough, but stop meddling in everything.

Across the board, we have had technical committees with little or no knowledge of the sport. Hockey is a case in point. Foreign experts like (Ric) Charlesworth and (Jose) Brasa were brought in but the results were negligible as their methods were not in sync with the system.

Isn’t the reluctance of the administrators to let go obvious? A cushy job, jet-setting lifestyle and above all, the sense of power derived from having the athletes at their mercy is what drives them.

The tendency to monopolise power is not a healthy sign. Newcomers must be allowed to prove themselves. If there is a plan, it must be given time to unfold. We all learn from our mistakes. Unfortunately, this is not happening in the present scenario.

The time is ripe to correct this anomaly. This can be done by bringing in professionals who can ensure that tailor-made programmes are run at the elite, middle and junior levels. When the sight is set on an Olympic medal, you need people who are sensitive to your needs. Issues like travel, ammunition, etc. may appear trivial, but they add up in the long run.

The provision of bringing all federations under the Right to Information Act and a 25 per cent reservation for sportspersons in NSFs needs to be applauded. When every federation is funded by the taxpayers' money, accountability is a natural corollary. As for reservation, how else will players get into the system? After all, the intent is to infuse order into sports.

The shooter is the country’s only individual gold medallist at the olympics

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First Published: Nov 29, 2011 00:42 IST