Riding on the success of our sportspersons at the Tokyo Olympics, there is a surge in sports-related activities as well as inspiration levels amongst the youth. However, as has been noticed in the past, it is very likely that the euphoria will die down quickly and will only be revived during the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
There is thus a need for sports organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, to work assiduously towards developing the culture of sports in our society before the embers of excitement become cold.
The National Sports Day on August 29, the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand, our hockey legend, is an apt landmark to accelerate the sports revolution in India. Every year on this date, the whole of India should be outdoors, playing one sport or the other. Young and old, fit and not so fit, aunties, uncles, youngsters, kids, everyone should be involved in a sporting way to give the much-needed impetus to sports in our country.
By focussing on sports, we will enable balanced development of the youth, increase fitness and immunity levels, enhance harmony and even increase employment opportunities in India.
The tri-city of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, has what it takes to lead the nation in the race towards sporting glory at the international level. Already, a large number of champions have emerged from here over the decades, from Kapil Dev to Milkha Singh, and from Rupinder Singh to Sharmila Devi.
Chandigarh has superb facilities for sports and the hockey, football and cricket academies have produced several stars. Golf and tennis have also seen a lot of successful players emanating from Chandigarh.
What needs to be done to further boost the level of sporting achievement is to ensure participation of all school going and college going youngsters in sports activities on a continuous basis. Once the catchment spectrum of sportspersons in team games like hockey, soccer and volleyball is broadened like cricket, we will find champion after champion emerging from this region. All states in India must actually follow suit, to ensure sporting excellence in India.
The magnificent heights attained by Neeraj Chopra, Mirabai Chanu and others, coupled with the inspiring performances of the hockey teams. both men and women, must not be allowed to fizzle out in our collective consciousness. We must make sure that India and Indians become sporty in every respect. Our nation would be a better nation to live in, if that happens, I can assure you!
Vivek Atray is a former IAS officer, an author and a motivational speaker. He is the Co- Founder of Playwrite Foundation, an organization committed to helping young sportspersons fulfill their dreams. He has been annually organizing the All India JP Atray Cricket Tournament in his father’s memory since 1992.