Sachin Tendulkar: We must identify talent early

Updated: Dec 23, 2017, 18:21 IST | Clayton Murzello | Mumbai

After missing out on speaking in Parliament, Sachin Tendulkar airs his views in a video post which should cause sporting India to introspect and act

Sachin Tendulkar's travels as a cricketer spread too far across the globe for him not to notice the sporting culture in other nations. Ditto the manner in which India has ignored the fruits of physical activity and sporting pursuits.

Sachin Tendulkar
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar wants India to be high on sports 

Yesterday, he spoke from the heart on the sporting India of his dreams in a video posted on social media. His words should cause sporting India to introspect and act. Much of that video's contents would have been spoken in Parliament the previous day, but the house was adjourned following another issue and Tendulkar couldn't deliver his Right to Play and the Future of Sports in India speech.

Watch the video here

No regrets
He took the loss of opportunity in his stride. "It's absolutely fine. There have been so many occasions when the house has been adjourned," he told mid-day yesterday. Tendulkar acknowledged that we Indians are great followers of sport. "We watch others, but we don't play —adopt any sport and play," Tendulkar urged.

About developing a sporting culture, Tendulkar said: "There is much more we can do." He understood that not everyone can develop into practitioners of competitive sport, but an attempt to encourage physical activity at an early age could throw up some talent which could be nurtured.

The cricket icon admitted feeling very hurt to read about Sita Sahu, a special Olympics athlete, who won two bronze medals in the 2011 Athens Games, selling golgappas to survive in Madhya Pradesh. "She is an Olympic medal-winner and she is selling golgappas... I was very hurt. She should be right up there with everyone (achievers) once that structure is in place," said
Tendulkar. The structure he was referring to was his dream organisation where retired athletes can train sportspersons and make a difference.

'Give them stability'
"Athletes live with their passion. All that knowledge can be passed on to a younger group and that will be so good but they should enjoy that stability in their post-playing days."

Tendulkar seemed to know exactly what goes through the mind of sportspersons when they think about coaching once they are done with competing -- 'if I don't succeed where do I go? I better stick to my job.' "That's the kind of thought process which is disallowing us from being a sports nation," felt Tendulkar, who called for post-playing stability. Spotting talent early and giving it the right kind of boost is also on Tendulkar's wish list.

Catch them younger
"At 21, our athletes are expected to win medals while other countries have identified talent at a very early age and that's not fair. We must identify talent early," he urged, adding that the coaches who help those athletes should be part of that medal journey.
There was also a message for parents. "Girls should be encouraged," he insisted. "I have met many girls who faced hurdles in sports. The way you encourage your sons, you must do the same for your daughters. Why should your daughter not get equal opportunities?"

Tendulkar has not been seen wielding his willow for a while, but yesterday, you could sense he was in the mood to drive on the up and wake up a nation from its sporting slumber.

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