September 29, 2005

Getting Worse

The Telegraph, 29.09.2005

Biswarup Sen blames globalization for the decreasing popularity of football and hockey vis--vis cricket in India, but his proposition is untenable. The logic of a free market says that if a team were to perform badly in any sport, and not bring in large crowds, the game would not be promoted. From the time India failed to shine in international hockey and football, the numbers following the two games dwindled. Had Indian players been more successful, there would not have been a shortage of sponsors. Sania Mirza or Vishwanathan Anand are popular not because the market arbitrarily chose to support the games they played, at the expense of others.

The need of the hour is to include sports in the mainstream school curriculum. At the moment what goes on in the name of physical education is a farce. To generate interest in sports from a very young age is to plant the seeds of world class sportspersons of the future. Since the state still organizes a number of local and international tournaments both in hockey and football, blaming the government squarely only serves to blur the problem.

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