It’s a well-known fact that the prevalent education system in the country discourages youngsters from combining studies with sports. And till the time a middle-ground is found, India will continue to struggle in most disciplines.
National table tennis coach Kamlesh Mehta believes it’s high time people allowed their children to participate in various sporting activities in order to make them better individuals.
“Broadly speaking, sports and studies complement each other. Sport teaches individuals to rise after they fall. In my opinion, if there were no global events like the Olympics, the world would have ended up fighting more wars,” said Mehta while announcing the 5th Maharashtra state ranking table tennis tournament at Khar Gymkhana yesterday.
Some of the country’s brightest paddlers including, Sanil Shetty (India No 2), Aman Balgu (India No 8), Madurika Patkar (India No 4), Pooja Sahasrabudhe (India No 5), Divya Deshpande (India No 7) and Mamta Prabhu (silver medalist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games) were also present at the venue.
Elaborating on the sports versus education debate, Mehta added: “Our education system is the prime reason that dissuades budding talent from pursuing sport as a career. We must remember not every child is gifted and brilliant at studies. We need to let them pursue what they are good at.”
Patkar said: “I was about to sacrifice my table tennis career when I was in Class X. At that time, I was the India No 1 in my age group. If my dad hadn’t convinced me to continue with TT, I wouldn’t have tasted the kind of success I have today.”
Prabhu meanwhile, blamed the lack of infrastructure as a major stumbling block. “During one of our trips to China, I was in awe of their infrastructure. There were 100 tables where 200 kids were learning the nuances of the sport under the watchful eyes of 50 coaches.
If we look at our country we are nowhere close to them. Even if we have 25% of the kind of infrastructure and training that they have, we could be a force to reckon with.”