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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    May 04, 2005

    Overemphasizing sporting achievement?

    Nitin's first para in his post on letting Pakistani students into IITs and IIMs finally forced me to put my thoughts down here. I've somehow not found the spark to write about why I think sporting achievements are overemphasized. But anyway, here goes.

    Here's the rhetorical question. So what if 1.1 billion Indians cannot win an Olympic gold (now that we've got the bronze and silver out of the way)? Winning or losing at the Olympics, cricket or hockey World Cups etc. really shouldn't mean a thing. Does the whole country become morose if say Tata Motors or Reliance or Infosys fail to win a sizeable international contract? No. So why be so besotted with sporting failures and successes?

    Surely there're other more important things for a country, especially a developing one, to achieve. Frankly, I believe that the Rs. 104 crores which has spent by the government over the last 3 years on various sports federations could have been put to better use in opening more educational institutions & primary healthcare centres, providing better drinking water to the public, improving the roads etc. I know 104 crores will not be enough to attend to all these issues, but there has to be a start somewhere. Factor in the money doled out to these associations in the last 58 years and the number would certainly be substantial. If these sports bodies are not delivering quality products, in terms of world-class athletes, why have them operate in the first place?

    Shut down all these federations. People are welcome to play sports, obviously. But if they want to compete at the international level, they need to find the money themselves. I, for one, don't want my money to be spent on coaching a boxer who gets knocked out within fifteen seconds at an international event.

    Once the economy shows 8% (or whatever) growth consistently over 3-5 years, the manufacturing sector is back on track, infrastructure projects near completion, roads in most areas of the country become usable, rail accidents are minimized, the national literacy level reaches a minimum of 75%, unemployment decreases rapidly and the country finally gets on the track of all-round development, feel free to revive these sporting institutions.

    Can a labourer struggling to earn one square meal a day afford to buy Reebok shoes for his son? Not immediately. Perhaps, after saving up for a year. Can he buy one pair every year, for fifty eight years in a row? Perhaps not.

    Read Nitin's post.

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