We have to now concentrate on building talent in all sporting disciplines, not just in the events or sports in which we are traditionally strong
With the Commonwealth Games Birmingham over on Monday, and our athletes many victorious, others vanquished, but heroes nevertheless, are home. It has been a good Games for India, most heartening of course were the manner of wins, surprise packages and the rich experience we have no doubt our athletes gleaned from Birmingham.
Every sports aficionado will know that there is a gap between the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the Olympics when it comes to the competition. In the Commonwealth, we do not have sporting powerhouse China. In the Olympics one has both, the USA and China. That having been said, nothing can take away from all the wins and the effort by the athletes. We have to now concentrate on building talent in all sporting disciplines, not just in the events or sports in which we are traditionally strong.
There were so many heartening ‘first evers’ for India in Birmingham, beginning with the ‘huh what’s that’? lawn bowls gold by the women’s team. Let us begin upping infrastructure, which includes awards for winners, coaching and all support in these disciplines so that we start progressing in every sport. We can certainly build on our power base and see that dominance continues but at the same time, spread the net wide so that champions come from other games too and we start putting together an ecosystem conducive to becoming truly multi-sporting.
Every country has a special few events or sports which have been its forte for very many years. Yet, it is time to be alive to what we can achieve in others, too. That is how we get more medals at Games and give youngsters that show talent in lesser played sports, avenues to move up the ladder.
We may find that we can forge a path in a discipline and eventually dominate a sport that we never thought we were strong enough to compete, leave alone win.