Wake up, there's more than just cricket
We all cheered Rathore's silver and quickly decided to watch the Olympic Games. Then our chances in hockey, tennis and athletics turned bleak. And the positive drug test results of our weightlifters pushed us right out of the race. Injured, we switched back to our old beloved cricket. It didn't matter that we were stripped of our laurels there too. Why must we polish and shine just one dear silver in the 56 years of our existence? Why was everyone scrambling to learn what `double trap shooting' meant? If we plead Third-World status, how will we explain away those splendid African Olympians? Is the system to blame, or is the finger pointing at us? ROHINI MOHAN leaves the ball in the sports enthusiasts' court.
With the Olympic games the masses seem to have suddenly realised that there are many more sports.
I was the captain of the national soccer team when we were second in the world. Do you know me? But you know one man who played once in some cricket test match years ago. Sports must become a serious subject in school. Sponsors only want mileage.
Chitra Gangadharan, soccer coach
In India, coaches are not qualified for international standards. The ones appointed have a pull with federations or government. Often, they don't have a clue what they're doing to the athlete. They don't guide them about dietary supplements or even workout discipline.
Harinath, State basketball coach
When World Cup happened, people were crazy about football. It shows we need publicity to generate interest. How can you write one page about us losing in cricket and publish just one column about our superb performance in relay somewhere? What logic is this?
Kamal, fitness coach
Lots of foreign funding agencies invest in our players and so the loyalty obviously shifts. Players go abroad and don't play for their country. The Government has enough funds, it just doesn't release them till we prove ourselves. There's too much politics in sports. It's a shame.
S.D. Eshan, Arjuna
Awardee & Asian Games winner in shot put
I'm interested in football more than cricket. But there's no team at school. And my parents will give me permission to go for training camp only if it is cricket. I can take that as a career if I want. But I wish I could choose football.
Manish, player in under-15 State cricket team
Photos: K. Murali Kumar
All the infrastructure is in urban areas. Kerala is the best state because every taluk has a sports authority. Our coaches are accountable to SAI. Often to save their skin, they pressure athletes. And players use steroids so that they don't let their coach down.
P.S.B. Naidu, Secretary,
State Body Building Association
Parents allow their children to choose sports as career only if its cricket or tennis. They should see what their son is good at. Everyone runs behind cricket, when only 10 per cent of them are good at it. We mustn't attach prestige to any game.
Ramesh, cricket coach
Job options are few in India. So when a player gets a job, he stops concentrating on sports. We must increase job quotas and scholarships for players. Urbanites only want to win, but rural players have the killer instinct. So we must stop this random picking.
J. Vincent, Secretary,
State Boxing Association
Amongst our more than 100 crore population, if we can't win even one medal, it's because we started preparing for Olympics only six months back. Now's the time to start for the 2008 Games. Also, most talent is in the middle and poor class. Monetary incentives will definitely make them work harder.
Gautam, tennis coach
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