Monday - 24 June 2024 - 6:18 AM

Khelega India toh khilega India

Olympic games in Tokyo is set to be flagged off in a day. Though postponed by one year, sports lovers worldwide yet anxiously awaited the magnificence and grandeur of opening/closing ceremony. But it was not bereft of misfortune even this year as terrifying pandemic too had its wings spread on Olympic. Most tragically the entire events are scheduled to be audience less, even the natives of Tokyo/Japan are not exception to it. They too have been deprived of the heavenly pleasure of being eye witness to this historic event. Surely, One of the saddest chapter in the history of Olympic games.

The ‘best athlete India ever had’,flying sikh padmshri Milkha Singh has left for his heavenly abode after long spell of ‘fight with pandemic’. The legendary and most spirited sports icon brought immeasurable glory and honor to the nation. His unforgettable and landmark performance in Rome Olympic where he missed a medal by a fraction of second did create history. His national record remained unbroken for continuous 40 years. His sad demise should be mourned by dedicating him the entire medals to be won by the Indian team in Tokyo olympic. All the more a maiden medal in athletics by the team in Tokyo Olympic, which has so far very cruelly eluded India, would be great tribute to the iconic sportsperson and a true homage to departed soul. His perseverance, hard work and dedication will always keep inspiring the sportspersons of the country.

Our nation has tirelessly been coining some very fascinating and catchy slogans since last a few years. Beginning with most vociferous and alluring ‘Achhey Din’ which unequivocally proved to be a game changer, enabling the ruling clan to sweep the poll. But later on whereas a few like swachh bharat,beti bachao beti padhao, pahle shauchalaya phir devalaya became instant hit conceptually and were acclaimed worldwide but contrarily some like Achhey Din, sabka sath sabka vikas, Make in india proved to be mere fiasco and were ridiculed and even laughed at.

But the most motivating and inspiring one ‘Khelega……….khilega…..’came out of the blue. Though the tag line aptly commemorated with the opening of national youth game ceremony in 2019,and it generated immense hope & jubilance among the sportspersons and sports lovers countrywide.

The entire nation was appalled with the mere idea that government has at long last expressed their intention to prioritize neglected sports sector and will formulate sustainable long drawn policies to make games part of lifestyle. But it did not happen so. The spirit of the phrase fizzled out before it could take off. It met the same fate as many others soul-touching and alluring slogans. Whereas it needed the same degree of zeal, spirit and patronage as that of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with huge social awareness and exceptionally large public participation.

India with 2nd largest population has failed to excel in any game except cricket, which of course is not people’s game. Our performance in various Olympic or in other international sports meet has been pathetically dismal. India has been getting for long ‘sole’ medal in hockey in Olympic, until maiden medal was won in an individual event in 2004 Olympic in shooting by Rajya Vardhan.

The first ever gold in Olympic in an individual event was won again in shooting by Abhinav Bindra in 2008.It is again a matter of great dishonor that no Indian has so far won a medal in athletics. Late Flying sikh Milkha Singh and P T Usha could photo finish but unfortunately stuck to 4th position, despite rigorous and dedicated practice. In recent Olympic and other world sports meet though, Indians have improved their performance but not significantly and has managed to bag a few medals in shooting, wrestling, boxing, weight lifting, badminton and lawn tennis.

Respectable performance and winning a medal in multi medals event like athletics, swimming and gymnastic e.t.c is still a far cry. It was no less than a national disaster when Olympic squad had to be back home without a medal in 1976,1984,1988 & 1992 Olympics.The mounting disgrace and humiliation not easy to get rid of.

Post ww2 superpowers need to excel in sports too besides being economically, militarily and technologically strong.America,Russia and East Germany used to be main contenders of top 3 positions in Olympic until China made its mighty appearance. China abstained from Olympic and other world sports meet and stayed in hibernation for very long but bounced back with amazing performance, and surprisingly became a tough contender for top position.

The power of sport is unignorably. The outstanding performance by East Germany in Olympic and other international meet compelled West Germany to initiate truce and ended with merger ultimately by demolishing Berlin wall. Even Tiny and small nations like south Korea and Japan have respectable share in different sports meet.

The spirit of the ‘Khelega India toh khilega india‘ has to be adopted in word and spirit. A long term self sustainable people’s friendly sports policies have to be formulated and embraced. With India’s large population and scarce infrastructure, games of larger participation and less expensive has to be the thumb rule. The state and its agencies have to play a very vital and positive role. In the given situation, India fundamentally need to promote games like football,basketball, wrestling, boxing and atheletics,which requires comparatively lesser infrastructure ,less expensive and of course with larger participation.

Football has been a popular and India’s favorite game. India was once an Asian champion too but gradually with neglect and lack of patronage our standard deteriorated and has to struggle to be champion in SAARC games. Playing football, participation in atheletics events, if need be can be made compulsory in schools.A ‘khel ka maidan’ be earmarked preferably in every village. Bi-annual/annual sports meet should be organised at every Nyaya panchayat,block and district level.Potential talents could be picked and trained more professionally.

It should also be made remunerative .The sports need to be a regular feature in day to day life. It not only will improve the overall health but will have direct bearing in life expectancy and productivity. The nation has to its credit successful accomplishment of green and white revolution in the past, similarly a ‘khel’ revolution has to be concieved and executed as a national mission.

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The Indian contingent has already reached Tokyo. The nation is hopeful of best performance so far in Olympic. A medal in athletics will be a dream come true. Shooting, wrestling, boxing, badminton and hockey are the other hopeful segment.  The nation can always hope a few surprises. All medals and victories must be celebrated with full vigour and enthusiasm. Even getting euphoric like fans of soccer in Europe and South America should not be discouraged.

Sport is representative of a county’s traits like grit, perseverance, dedication and endurance. These are vital to nation building. India needs to travel a long way to inculcate these quintessential, as there is no shortcut. India fortunately is a young nation and have the full potential to perform. With phenomenal rise of China and its dominance in all the games have also dispelled the myth of physique as we have inherited almost the same physique.

Let ‘Khelega India toh khilega India’ be the driving force to make India a world sports power and Let’s wipe out the stigma of being merely a nation of slogan-mongers.

(Author is independent Writer)

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