Commonwealth Games 2018

India Lacks Sports Culture not Spirit

I have always been a fan of sports, especially cricket. While sportsmen feel the adrenaline rush of performing within an arena, we as spectators and fans couldn’t relate to the thrill any less. From gully cricket to Olympics, sportsmanship can be witnessed from a very basic, to larger than life level among one and all.

When it comes to fan following for their respective choice of teams or leagues, the fanaticism goes beyond leaps and bounds. Earlier when match updates were not a mere flash alert by some app or social media trending, the fireworks and celebration all around would be enough to draw attention, in case you missed out on keeping yourself updated. That is the level of craze among sports lovers in India!

Moving ahead with its winning spree and a rich sports heritage, Indian sportsmen are leaving no stones unturned in bringing laurels to the nation. Cricket is synonymous with the love for sports in India and in turn is celebrated with immense zeal. But with a population that is so diverse, the taste in sports is also equally varied.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games kicked off on 4th April 2018 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. This is Australia’s fifth time at hosting the Commonwealth Games. Holding my hopes high this year, since a strong contingent of 220 Indian athletes will be participating in nearly 14 challenging sports. Needless to say, this definitely brings back memories of the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, which had turned out to be one of the most successful years we had in the history of Commonwealth Games. Nearly one-fourth of all the medals have been secured by India with an outstanding performance among the competing nations. So far, India holds 438 medals including 155 Gold, 155 Silver and 128 Bronze medals. Now that’s quite a number! Australia, England and Canada hold the top ranks with 2,218, 2,008 and 1,473 medals respectively. There are nearly 71 nations competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and India with its exemplary performance in the past finds its spot among the top 5 nations.

India has outshined in shooting, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing etc, and it has already taken a leap to the third rank by securing 18 medals in 5 days according to the current medal tally of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. And what could better express the skills & potential of the young and old, other than the commendable achievement by Manu Bhaker, a 16-year old who broke the record to win gold for India in her first Commonwealth participation.

(Source: 13th April, 2018, Commonwealth Games Federation)

Despite such great performances at an international level in sports other than cricket, the fame and glory enjoyed by these star performers are limited to a short span of time. No doubt there are various leagues coming up to promote and boost the sports culture in areas like kabbadi, football etc. But we are indeed light years away from seeing these sports enjoying an equal status with cricket. I believe we can do much more when it comes to providing an institutionalised support to every sport equally. But again, while our sportsmen are putting in their undying efforts to help our country’s name shine with pride, some pre existing institutions are soaring high in scandals and corruptions thereby reducing the integrity & effectiveness.

Even though there is a lack of sports culture, the spirits of sports in India still soars high! If India’s performance is recognised globally keeping in mind the current scenario, we can only wonder what a synergized sports culture can help us achieve in the future. Having said that, it is not just the governing bodies, but also how we as a society change our attitude towards sports.

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