Development at grassroots must for sports to grow in India: VVS Laxman

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By Gaurav Laghate

Even as India has started to embrace different sports beyond cricket, it is still not a sporting nation. There are still steps needed to be taken, including grassroots development, to make India sports ready.

And to ‘make India sports ready’ was the theme of the day long Sports Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Speaking at the inaugural session, former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman pointed out that all-round development over and above academic excellence is required for overall success and achievement. “Schools should focus on the quality of sports and invest time and resources to ensure developing quality athletes from a young age,” Laxman said.

He also pointed out that parents in India are still not open about their kids taking up sports as a career option. “This is where corporates may come in. If they assure job security, we may see many more kids taking up sports as career,” he added.

Shrinivas Dempo, chairman – Sports Summit and chairman of Dempo Group, stressed on the need of building a dynamic sporting culture in India and the need for the government and the private sector to collaborate in order to strengthen the sports industry. He said that lack of inadequate public resources impede India’s performance in the global sporting arena. “Corporate funding in sports may therefore be one of the answers to ignite development in India,” Dempo said.

“The gestation period for realising returns on such investments is long, but the investments should be viewed as a business model and one has to be passionate about the goal and achievements.”

Meanwhile, Joy Bhattacharya, Project Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup, said that sports can be developed not only through the involvement of youth, but also an entire ecosystem –
parents, schools, teachers, government, mentors etc. “There is a need to mentor youth from the appropriate age, dedicate time and guidance for future development,” he added.

Other speakers at the summit included Yannick Colaco, Managing Director, NBA India; Nilesh Kulkarni, Director, International Institute of Sports Management (IISM); Vita Dani, Co-owner, Chennaiyin (ISL franchisee) and Chairperson, 11even Sports (Table Tennis League); Indranil Das Blah, COO, Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutionsand CEO Mumbai City FC; Vinit Karnik, Business Head – ESP Global; Charu Sharma, founder director, Mashal Sports; and Sandip Tarkas, former CEO – Sports, media and special projects, at Future Group & CEO, Bengal Tigers Kabaddi.

Source: Economic Times

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