Indian should extend its citizen’s constitutional right to vote to an active postal ballot system

August 29 is celebrated as the ‘National Sports Day’ in memory of legendry hockey player Dhyan Chand. On this day the Government must initiate steps to rejuvenate the national game and restore it to its golden past Today, we celebrate National Sports Day in the remembrance of ‘Hockey ke Jadoogar’ Dhyan Chand. I am a sportsperson myself and thus I feel deeply connected to and truly recognise the importance of sports in our country.

Sports has provided a unique opportunity for young people from all over the country to come together, live in the same environment, share the same food and at the same time compete with each other to attain higher and higher levels of sporting excellence. The importance of any sport is the joy in playing it. Playing the game and playing well is what sport is all about.

Our performance in the previous Olympic Games 2008 was not up to the mark. It is high time for our sports-persons to roll up their sleeves and get prepared for the 2012 Olympic Games. Our National Flag must fly high and our torch must burn bright at those games. At the world stage we still have a lot to achieve if we have to do our nation proud.

India is doing well in many fields and is gaining recognition for it across the world. The time has come now to prove ourselves in the sporting fields of the world. Huge talent lies in India, the challenge lies in harnessing this talent, nurturing it, providing the best facilities, training and exposure. For this, an all round effort has to be made, involving the Union and the State Governments, Sports Federations, Universities and Schools.

Sports must start from the childhood and schools are the first arena for training. A healthy child will grow up to be healthy young adult and can then form the base from which we will see fresh sporting talent emerge. Children in many States are victims of malnutrition. So, we must work towards ensuring that our children are well-nourished, adequately taken care of and given proper medical care.

These children will then go to school, take part in sports and games and then become sportsperson like Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar, Jitendra Kumar, Dinesh Kumar, Geeta Devi, Gagan Narang,Vijay kumar, Deepika Kumari, Sushil kumar, Manoj Kumar, Abhinav Bindra, etc. We need to encourage a ‘sports culture’ where children are encouraged to play — by their parents, teachers and the society. Schools need to offer sports as a regular subject and not only as an optional choice. And likewise colleges and universities should also include sports as a subject. The present culture of using sports quota has undoubtedly helped students but if sports is offered as a main subject then these students can further develop their talent in the field of sports itself.

The current performance of our sportspersons in CWG 2010 has attracted national and international attention towards Indian sports scenario. We felt extremely proud when India stood at number two at the CWG medal tally. If the present infrastructure has given our sports man such success then with a proper modern and developed setting our players can make an international mark.

Our focus should reach out to the rural villages of our country, so that more players like Deepika Kumari, Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar, Sandeep Singh, Geetika Jakhar, Manjeet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur, Narsingh Pancham Yadav can find their proper representation. Efforts need to be made to ensure extensive and impartial recruitment across the
country, provide world-class training and exposure to our sportspersons. For this, an all round effort has to be made, involving Union and State Governments, Sports Federations, Universities and Schools. I would also propose the involvement of the corporate sector both public and private that should be given tax breaks for sponsoring and supporting Olympic sports and athletes.

Our Government is paying special attention to sports and youth affairs. We are committed to take our country to the top in all sporting fields. In my State, Haryana, the State Government is taking keen interest in proper development of sports and its infrastructure.

In the past few years, Haryana Government has brought many plans to boost sports. I call forth all our children, students and youth to take keen interest in sports. We should maintain the present position in CWG and put in every possible effort to make a mark in Olympic as well. August 29 is celebrated as the National Sports Day, which is named
after the ‘Hockey ke Jadoogar’ Dhyan chand. So, we must talk about our national game Hockey which once had a glorious stature.

Presently, our performance has not remained any match to its golden past. We must take necessary steps to rejuvenate the sport once again. Indian cricket is an international brand now. But we must ensure that our position in Olympic sports like Football, Table Tennis, Swimming, Boxing, Kabbadi, Athletics, Gymnastics, Shooting should gain a substantial world position. I am happy to see that games like Badminton, Tennis, Shooting, Chess, Golf, Wrestling, and Archery have become popular and Indians are beginning to do well. Sports help in building a team spirit and thus form a binding thread amongst the countrymen. They are also an occasion for promoting national integration.

As a country of young people, India has great potential in the world of sports and games. We are yet to fully harness the talent of our youth in this vast field. We need to bring a nationwide movement of youth in sports. And a close coordination between the Centre, State and sports association will surely bring about the necessary development.

– The writer is the Member of Parliament, Kurukshetra, Haryana. He is also a sportsperson.

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Om Shanti
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