Having made an indelible mark in the world of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar could now be associated with promotion of sports in schools and higher education by tapping and nurturing the potential for bigger gains in global events like Olympics.
Tendulkar has written to the HRD Ministry, pressing for "systemic changes" and "overhaul" so that "12 medals in Rio (Olympic Games venue in 2016) and or 20 in 2020 isn't a pipedream".
Outlining his objectives in a three-page letter, the 39-year-old batting maestro has said he wants to leave behind "lasting legacies and help convert our cherished land into a hub of sporting excellence".
HRD Ministry has welcomed his offer to associate with enhancing the sports curriculum. "We welcome Sachin Tendulkar's proposal and I have already written to him inviting him for a presentation," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said.
In his letter, Tendulkar said, "For the first time in India's sporting history, the opportunity is ripe for a fundamental overhaul... We now need to give the final push Indian sport has been waiting for."
Referring to India's performance in the London Olympics held three months ago, he said the games "created heroes" who have become household names. "It is time we stop being cynical and stop parading the clichéd line that six medals for a billion people is just not good enough. It is time to celebrate the initiation of sports culture in the country and celebrate the groundwork created at London for a fundamental overhaul of India's sporting structure.
"This is our opportunity to chase our dream of becoming a successful sporting nation. It can well be that the dream turns real in Rio in 2016 and India can yet again double its medal count at the Olympics," he wrote.
Tendulkar suggested creation of a three-tier structure for achievement of sporting excellence asserting that the initiatives outlined would leave behind a "lasting legacies and will help convert out cherished land into hub of sporting excellence".
He also suggested introducing sports in the textbooks with percentage of marks dedicated to sports and setting up of state of art finishing schools for Olympic disciplines where the country has shown potential.
The history textbook, he said, should include chapter on Indian hockey celebrating the "monumental" achievements of Dhyan Chand so that students grow up respecting sports and physical activity.
In this regard, he expressed his satisfaction over UGC already earmarking funds for integration of sports facilities within higher education set up in India. "This is a hugely significant step and will make sports a viable career option in India," he said in his letter. Expressing his keen desire to emulate the US sports system model in India, which is totally reliant on college-university framework producing US Olympians of repute,” he said, "My dream is to accomplish the same in India."
He felt mobile phones possessed by most youths today can be used for harnessing sports talent. They could be urged to sent SMS or MMS detailing their sports achievement, which experts can examine. "If the candidate is deemed to have talent he or she will be called to access the sports facilities created within the academic framework. By making facilities available to them, the talented youngsters, sports, I expect, will get the necessary recognition and become part of India's everyday existence," he said.
In this regard, Tendulkar suggested setting up of five academic institutes in each part of the country with state-of- art facilities where budding talents can nurture their ambitions.
He also suggested state-of-art finishing schools on the lines of National Cricket Academy in Bangalore for specific Olympic disciplines in which the country has shown potential.
He felt that the Sports Ministry proposal of having a National Institute of Sports Science is "desperately needed" so that it can act as a nodal institute where sportsperson can turn to in case of injuries and other issues.
He said new rules for talented sportspersons should be framed to avoid repetition of Unmukt Chand case, India's Under-19 cricket captain who faced problems being promoted due to lack of attendance in class.
Noting that Olympic sports should also dominate India's national imagination, he said the country could well bid for 2024 or 2028 Olympics.