Sunil Chhetri believes education sector can play 'crucial role' in promoting sports in India

Updated: Jul 10, 2020, 15:34 IST | ANI | New Delhi

Women's cricket team's Mithali Raj, who was also a part of the session, feels that women's cricket can "re-build quickly" from this coronavirus pandemic despite admitting the impact of the crisis

Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri

Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri believes that the education sector can play a 'crucial role' in promoting sports in the country and schools must encourage sports and fitness among students. Addressing a session on 'Re-Setting the Sports Ecosystem: Opportunities in The New Normal World' at FICCI FRAMES, Chhetri said, "The education sector can play a crucial role in promoting sports in India. We must promote sports culture at the grassroot level and schools must encourage sports and fitness among students by making sports facilities available and dedicating more time during the school-day to sporting activities instead of treating it as a customary exercise."

Women's cricket team's Mithali Raj, who was also a part of the session, feels that women's cricket can "re-build quickly" from this coronavirus pandemic despite admitting the impact of the crisis. "Unfortunately, women's Cricket may have been set back by a couple of years by this pandemic as some of the momentum that had been built between India's success in World Cup 2017 and World T20 2020 has been lost. However, we have had discussions with BCCI to draw up a firm calendar for the Indian women's team so that fans can regularly cheer for the team," Raj said.

"The plans have obviously been disrupted but we believe we can re-build quickly. I think a full-fledged Women's IPL is still 2-3 years away but we would certainly look to have a fourth team in the Women's Challenge that is played concurrently with the IPL," she added. Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director-General, Sandip Pradhan, said they need to re-set, re-invent and re-work their priorities.

"Being physical while leveraging digital is the new normal, so we need to re-set, re-invent and re-work our priorities. Sports Authority of India is organizing several online sports classes in association with the National Sporting Federations, which includes interactive sessions with young athletes about their techniques and how to develop their overall physical skills and mental abilities. Even when the pandemic is over, these new initiatives would open previously unthought-of avenues to increase business," he said.

Whereas, President of the Indian Olympic Association, Narinder Dhruv Batra, said corporates must adopt at least one Indian sport as he stressed that a wave of one athlete performing well can indirectly impact lakhs of others.

"Corporates must adopt at least one Indian sport and broadcasters must allocate considerable time to promote them. Companies must realize that the wave of one athlete performing well can indirectly impact lakh of others. We cannot expect the government to take upon itself the onus of building a world-class sporting environment when it is stretched between the many priorities of a developing economy, this is where the corporate India needs to step in, and it has to be a collective effort."

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