With the spot-fixing scam getting bigger than ever, maybe it is time a cynical public, skeptical sponsors and shaken spectators turn their eyes elsewhere, to other sports, especially Olympic medal sports.
With London behind, Rio de Janeiro 2016 beckoning, and India working hard to improve its Olympic medals tally, it seems like the right thing to do. For years now we have been essentially a one-sport nation, never mind claims to the contrary. Cricket pulls in the crowds and the money too. Cricketers are treated as demi Gods and earn stupendously, compared to other sportsmen in India.
Maybe, one should start with the corporates who must surely be putting a finger on the pulse of a nation both shocked and disgusted at the rot set into the game. While turnout at the matches is still huge, corporates could start by roping in other sportsmen as brand ambassadors for their products. This is an apt time to scout around and find athletes or sportsmen who could be ideal for certain endorsements. High visibility would increase their recall value in the minds of people and would give children and youngsters an opportunity to see other sportsmen as role models and even dream about — an Olympic medal, instead of an India jersey or in these times, a slot in an Indian Premier League (IPL) team.
While it is easy to point
fingers, the media too, this paper included, could begin by balancing the coverage of cricket and other sports so that other athletes get fair play. Right now the scales are tilted heavily in favour of cricket coverage. It is time to start bringing in some equality in publicity and achievement. Let’s use this to shed the one-sport notion and embrace a multitude of sports and sporting heroes.