Ravi is very passionate for football lives in a crowded city where there is no playground in his locality to play. So he wakes up early morning in the hope that he will get a chance to play football in his school. Because of his hard work he gets selected for the nationals and gets a call for 20 days of national football camp but his father does not allow him to attend the camp. His father does not want anything to disturb his son's studies. Ravi's dream career eventually gets shattered into many pieces. And this is the story of many Indian teenagers whose flight crashes even before taking off.
India with a population of about 133 crores is the second most populous country in the world but has managed only a single gold medal since 1980 whereas a country like America with 32.57 crore population has won 1127 gold medals. In India out of 15 people, only 1 aspires for a career in sports. In India, sports is just a means of pleasure, a key to fitness, an activity that is limited to school, but not a career option. Parents refrain from encouraging their children for opting sports as a career option and teachers also lay emphasis on academics mostly. And why one should not think like that as many of our elite sportsmen died in poverty like Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav (1st Olympic bronze medalist), Shanti Devi(kabaddi player) and Sarwan Singh(hurdler) who is forced to work even at the ripe old age of 70 and is offered a paltry monthly pension of 1500 rupees. Many sportspeople play today, just for the sake of getting a government job. There is nothing wrong in it, but achievements should go hand in hand with one's goals. The goal of any sportsperson should be to excel in his or her sports and not to worry about his economic condition. It is such a heavy load that it has burdened our players and athletes for a long time to opt out of sports to look for financial support.
According to reports, Great Britain spent $350 million on 374 athletes who travelled to Rio, while Australia spent $332 million between the London and Rio Olympics. Compared to this, India’s $5.5 million seems minuscule. In the Union Budget 2017-18, Rs 1943 crore was allocated for sports. While it is Rs 450 crore higher than the previous year, it is much below than the around Rs 9000 crore spent annually by the UK for its sports sector. Lack of sports infrastructure, poverty, corruption, concentration of sports stadium only to cities and lack of encouragement to girls to participate in sports, etc, have impaired the development of a positive sports culture in the country.
Sports has the power to transform individuals, communities, societies, states and countries. Playing sports not only keeps us in good shape but also provides us with mental health. Sports give us the opportunity to learn, to share responsibility and inculcate the feeling of teamwork in us. They also build an overall positive image and boost our self confidence. Opting a career in sports should be a matter of pride for the people of a country because by winning medals and tournaments they can bring glory to their nation and become an idol for many. So India needs to revamp its sports infrastructure and should create an atmosphere pan India, starting from the grassroot levels that is conducive to the growth of a healthy sports culture in our country. Then only we can transition from a sports loving nation to a sports playing nation.