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There are some mornings you wake and think… Maybe I’ll have coffee instead of tea…. or toast instead of porridge….

There are mornings that look so glorious, it makes our souls smile… Sometimes those mornings make us want to be good people.. Maybe do a few good deeds. But like every other resolution we have – be it lose weight or exercise, eat healthily or even just think about smiling more – we inevitably forgot. We let our lives take over and our dreams go to sleep..

This video is an amazing tribute to all the young women  - the princesses of the world. It made me appreciate their love, sincerity and courage. And I pray that it will touch your soul and enlighten our society, so that we can learn to love, cherish & appreciate the princesses in our world….

In October 2012, I lead an expedition with nine brave OutCause Explorers. We summited the mighty Mt Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise an awareness in the ‘fight against cancer’ & to garner funds for the Karunashraya Cancer Hospice in Bangalore, India – a hospice that offers palliative care to terminally ill cancer patients.
This is our story…
Please take the time to watch it, share it & if you can – help Karanushraya.

For a day to day  & moment by moment account of our expedition, please read OutCause Explorer Maria Goretti’s blog…. http://mariagorettiz.blogspot.in

The following is a poem I commissioned on KickStarter by Thom Ingram.

I asked him to write a poem about a young athlete who has to persevere daily, to overcome adversity and find his place in the world.

This

A secret for the world son, there is none.
And daughter, the fodder we have fed you on.

I know, told each day, by action, by situation,
your life is worth less. Blessed I feel
to sit beside you. Future president,
present champion. To tell you a secret.
There is none, but getting up and running.

One foot, one step. Working harder than the rest.
Show up early. Stay late. Keep the streets
and the apathy at bay. The easy and the quick
are thick lies that will tease you to sit. Stand
again (and again). One foot, one hand. One inch

at a time. I give you a word. Mine. That this
is a moment you and I can’t let pass by, or miss.

 

Digi Sports India & Fitness Pvt Ltd is a specialist in health, exercise & sports consultancy. The company based in Mumbai, India.

We currently have two major brands:
The HEAL Institute – a physiotherapy and rehabilitation clinic offering a new, cutting edge approach to training, treatment & rehab.
Speed Kids – a state of the art biomechanical based training program that focuses on gross motor skill development in the Foundation Phase of Physical Development.

We have the following vacancies available:
1. Senior Physiotherapist – This is a short term contract between (4-6 months) The candidate must have 3-5 years working experience. The job description is as follows:
- Train junior physio’s under the brand HEAL
- Be able to deliver lectures and presentations on the latest techniques in physio and rehab
- Be able to establish process and protocols for the day to day running of clinics
- Establish a roll out plan for growth and development under the brand HEAL.

This successful candidate will be based in Bombay but will be required to travel both locally and abroad.

2. Junior Physiotherapists – This is a one year contract with the option to renew.
The candidate must hold a Bachelor of Physiotherapy or Masters in Physiotherapy degree. Any work experience is a additional bonus.
The candidate will undergo comprehensive training and will be required to work in The HEAL Institute clinics.
The candidates will be based in Bombay and maybe required to travel.

3. Strength & Conditioning Specialists: This is a one year contract with the option to renew. The candidate must hold a Sports Science, Biokinetics or Physical Therapy degree with between 3-5 years experience.
The should have experience in manual therapy (massage, stretching & joint mobilizations), exercise prescription and be able to conduct lectures and courses in their respective fields.
The job description is as follows:
- Run the “Train the Trainer” program under the Speed Kids umbrella.
- Develop manuals to help educate trainers
- Develop exercise program for elite sportspeople
- Lecture on exercise prescription, nutrition and speed mechanics.

The candidate will be based in Bombay but maybe required to travel both locally and abroad.

These positions are excellent opportunities to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of a new and exciting brand. It will also provide you the opportunity to both develop your skills and expand your network in India.

The closing date for applications is 10th February 2013. All renumeration packages will be discussed individually and based on the candidates experience.

Applications should be emailed to prajanya@digisportsindia.in  & should include a short covering letter highlighting how you meet the required skill set of the role outlined above.

 

Shayamal’s Top 10 Super-foods

If your New Years resolution involves getting fit, losing weight or eating healthily, my list of ‘super-foods’ may just be the secret you have been looking for.

  1. The Berry Family : Strawberries, raspberries & blueberries are packed with an incredible amount of nutritional goodness. These little guys are rich in antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, fibre & water. Not only do they strengthen our immune system, but may also guard against neurological disorders (Alzheimers), degenerative eye diseases & urinary tract infections.
  2. Chili: is an ancient antioxidant, rich in Vitamin A, B, C and E. In addition to the fact that is has seven times more Vitamin C than oranges, chilli is also an excellent slimming agent. This Ayurvedic medicine is used to ward of diseases, stimulate the digestive system & lower cholesterol.
  3. Green Tea: This strong antioxidant is a great metabolism booster that speed’s up fat loss, prevents cancer, stabilizes blood sugar levels & increases circulation.
  4. Salmon: Known as the Super-fish, the salmon is heavy in Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, Vitamin D & B.  Omega 3 fatty acids are vital in preventing cardiovascular disease.
  5. Wheat grass, Barley grass & other green foods: These green machines contain carbohydrates, proteins, chlorophyll, lipids, vitamins & minerals, which are easily assimilated in the body. Barley grass has potassium, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, zinc, beta-carotene & vitamins B1, 2 and 6. This provides 11 times more calcium than cow’s milk, 5 times more iron than spinach & 7 times more vitamin C than oranges.
  6. Yoghurt (DAHI): This calcium rich dairy product is also packed with proteins & potassium. Yoghurt contains probiotics that help maintain the natural bacterial balance in the digestive track & lessen the severity of the skin condition “excema”.
  7. Nuts: These are one of the best sources of heart-healthy fats, proteins, omega 3 and 6 oils, fibre, vitamins & minerals like vitamin E, copper, magnesium, folic acid & potassium.  They generally get a bad reputation because of their high fat content, but their ability to lower cholesterol, promote weight loss & fight cancer have earned them a place in my Top 10 list.
  8. Cinnamon: Believe it or not, this spice is considered as one of the healthiest foods in the world. Although not counted when on top of a sticky bun, cinnamon has been known to lower cholesterol & help control blood sugar.
  9. Oats: This comfort food does more than just warm the tummy. These whole grain goodies, which come in many forms from cereals to energy bars, help lower your cholesterol & increase your fibre intake.
  10. The Allium Family: which consists of garlic, onions, leeks & chives are responsible for the production of the liver’s most powerful antioxidant “Glutathione”.  This antioxidant helps eliminate toxins and carcinogens from the body, which helps protect against cancer, reduce cholesterol & lower blood pressure.

a new dawn brings a new beginning….
(reflections of 2012)

a.a milne once said…. good judgment come from experience, but experience comes from poor judgement.

as much as i appreciate the brilliant works of milne, life has taught me a few things about experience…
firstly, whilst experience instils confidence & reassures us of our abilities; its also the birthplace of fear… if you think about it, inexperience erases fear.. an inexperienced person doesn’t know what is and isn’t possible, therefore everything is possible.. and fear which is born out of experience, is our biggest stumbling block… the stumbling block that tells us to take the path of cautiousness over curiosity.. and the path that ensures our dreams never become a reality…

this year, like every other, had its highs and lows… moments that my smile and those that obviously made me cry… it brought people into my life who were either a blessing or their to teach me a lesson… both of which im grateful for…..
this year taught me that what actually defines me, cannot be quantified….
and that the greatest gift anyone can possess is humility….
this year taught me that sometimes best friends can become strangers just as easily as strangers can become best friends…
but more importantly, never judge – till you have walked a mile in their shoes…
this year taught me that giving up is not an option…
because not being prepared for an opportunity is way worse than not getting one..
this year taught me that if you want to be heard, you have to start listening….
and if you can’t accept what you can’t change, you absolutely have to change what you cant accept…
this year taught me that my friends are my family…
and my family are my friends….
finally – this year taught me that no matter what the circumstance – stand up for what you believe in – stand up for whats right – stand up, even if you standing alone….

to the brave girl who lost her life in delhi – thank you for waking up our nation to the plight of women.. thank you for uniting our nation… and thank you for showing me the meaning of courage and strength… you will forever hold a special place in my heart..

to mum & dad…. whose tireless encouragement & motivation has helped me live a life of dreams fulfilled… thank you

to team kili cancer – yudi, tara, kabir, maria, shallu, anish, vikram & ram… thank you for making that dream a reality… i love you guys.

to team playright – if life is a journey, you guys sure make the ride easier… i love you & thank you….

and to all my friends and well wishers… i love you

*** 2013 *** Here we go!!!!

Love – The Story of the Japanese Shield Bug
“To have a profoundly tender affection for someone”

One of the most endearing examples of love and devotion are found in the maternal instincts and behavior patterns of a small group of insects. The Japanese Shield Bug, indigenous to the forests of Japan’s south islands, is a brilliant red and black bug.

These tiny insects entire existence depends on a completely unreliable source of food called drupes. Drupes are small fleshy fruit that fall from one kind of tree, during a particular time of the year. These fruit are so rare, that evolution has forced the breeding period of these little bugs to coincide with the falling of the fruit.
As if this is not difficult enough, the Shield Bug which makes its home in leaves, is forced to take shelter about 40- 50 feet from these trees because the Olacaceae tree does not shed its leaves simultaneously with the ripening of its fruit.
This means the nest will have to be established a few meters away and specially selected ripened fruit will have to be carried to the nest. Only 5% of all drupes that fall are worthy enough to be eaten. Each drupe weighs three times the weight of the bug. This process in itself presents many threats, as other less dedicated mothers often ambush the bug. Some even resort to stealing drupes from unattended nests.
A successful nest will require close to 150 drupes to help nurture the young to independence. To make matters even worse, the young themselves are very temperamental. If they feel that the mother is not providing them with a healthy supply of good drupes, they will leave to join another nest, where they will be welcomed openly. A dedicated mother who cannot find good drupes for her young will make the ultimate sacrifice. She will provide her body as food for her young. Even in successful nests she will be their last meal before reaching independence.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – Corinthians 13:17

One of most important components of preparing to succeed is maintaining a healthy balance in life. An integral part of that healthy balance focuses on nurturing holistic relationships with your family, friends and colleagues. Their love and support are vital rungs on the ladder of success. Love needs to be cherished, preserved and never taken for granted, as that love may ultimately be the difference between life and death or mediocrity and excellence. The Shield Bug’s devotion, care, and dedication to raising her young successfully is the greatest example of love in the animal kingdom and is something we should all aspire to. Her sacrifice of life in the name of love is truly inspiring.

“Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place.” – Ice T

From “Lessons from the Wild” Published in 2012
Available online through IBook, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is,” What is mental toughness?” I’m not quite sure that that is the right question, because “mental toughness” as a phrase is probably one of the most commonly used but misunderstood phrases in sports psychology.

Mental toughness (Jones, et al 2000) is having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to:
a. Generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands that sport places on a performer
b. Specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, and in control under pressure.

This is the definition, which in actual fact is no help at all. It’s a simple description of everything we already know. We need to cope with the demands of the sport more consistently that our opponent. Do we need a sports psychologist to tell us that? The question we should be asking is, “What makes us mentally tough?”

I have been on the ATP with India’s Top 10 players for the past five years. I have watched them develop as both players and individuals into charismatic personalities who command respect on every level. I have watched them win nail-biting matches from difficult situations on sheer courage and persistence, and also lose run of the mill matches through complacency. But what no one sees in any player, is the wealth of experience they compile from every single match, be it a win or a loss. And it is this experience that single handedly molds the mental toughness that is required to win championships.

The next important question is, “How do we ensure that we are gathering the correct information required to nurture and develop a player in a future champion?”
There is a very common phrase that goes, “Knowledge is Power.” In order to develop a complete professional tennis player, we need knowledge of the individual in four major components: technical, physical, game strategy, and mental. And the best way to gather this information over a prolonged period of time is to inculcate in the player the discipline of writing a journal. A journal is not a diary. It is a window through your subconscious mind. It is a market place of ideas, thoughts, fears and aspirations. And the only way to reach it is through your pen. It is a ticket to self discovery which materializes when one allows their conscious thoughts to flow freely through their pen. This in turn will stimulate the sub conscious mind to freely toss ideas that will help the individual better understand both his body and mind. The journal must comprise of specially selected thoughts and feeling that will contribute towards molding the individual into a charismatic personality. It will eventually form a reservoir of positive- ness that will ultimately guide the individual to his goals, uplift his spirits, and with time show him that although the road ahead was not an easy one, his perseverance, strength, courage, and discipline have helped him overcome adversities beyond his wildest comprehension.
This record of his experiences will help him understand his strength and weaknesses in all four components, and eventually guide him onto a path that will best suit his complete overall development. In addition, the psychological and therapeutic benefits of reading ones old journals are very documented.

So lets start the process of developing our mental toughness by freeing our thoughts through the action of writing.

So, what’s next for India?

We all have a vision for our future and many would even argue that our daily energy expenditure is channelled towards realizing that dream. Well…. for all who dare to dream and the few who persevere hard enough, the age old saying, ‘The world is your oyster’, may hold true.

We live in a world where it is easy to fall in love with ideas. A world filled with big dreams and creative innovations that are actually intoxicating. So much so that such a surplus of ideas and dreams could even be as dangerous as a drought, as the tendency to jump between ideas results in us spreading our energy horizontally rather than vertically.  After all, the inspiration to generate ideas comes easier than the inspiration to take action. But, the inspiration to act is what is needed to move humanity forward.

It is no big secret that productivity is critical to success, but productivity without prioritization, active steps and a roadmap to success is superfluous. This brings me to the essence of this article.

I have just returned from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Taking nothing away from the stellar performances delivered by some of our athletes, it is still very questionable whether it was a successful Olympics for India. The problem is that after five years in this country – and 2 Olympic Games & 1 Commonwealth Games later – I find us still dealing with the very same issues and asking the same questions. This simply means that we have not bought into the concept that ‘sport can change the moral fibre of a nation’. The question is, why?

A case in point was the AITA selection drama prior to the Olympics, which played out messily in public for all the world to see. I have been at the confluence of the shambles that is Indian tennis administration for close to four years. While I refuse to take sides in this article, it is safe to say that that the media outcry by the parties involved showed them all in very poor light, served to highlight their incompetence, the lack of transparency and accountability in sports administration and management. Sadly, these are realities that persist year after year across federations and sports associations in this country.  It was only because of the sheer importance of the Olympics and the stature of the various athletes involved that it got its due coverage. Apart from the dirty linen that was washed in public, what is even more disappointing is that, as history has shown us, it is almost certain that absolutely nothing will be done to improve the situation so that India can be represented with dignity and pride in Rio 2016.

However, the aim of this piece isn’t to point fingers. It is simply to highlight certain points, raise certain concerns, ask the relevant questions and hopefully give structure to the thought process of how to improve sport in India.

Prior to my move to India, I had worked at the pinnacle of sport in South Africa. South Africa has always been a sporting nation but a nation that built its players on an ethos of pride, hunger, determination and a will to overcome adversity. We were never exceptionally talented, just extremely hard workers. In 2008, after our men’s relay swimming team failed to medal in Beijing despite an improvement on their gold medal time in Athens, even we as a nation had to question our approach, think about embracing technology and incorporate a structure that would give us the best opportunity of rising to the top again. The fact that the 2012 South Africa swimming team won two gold medals bears testament to their hard work and the importance of a structured athletic plan.

 

So, how do we move forward?

There is a word that is critically important to the process of growth and development. That word is “de-brief”. Sadly, it is something that rarely happens.  Medals, trophies, and championships are not things that happen by chance. They happen only when processes are in place that can nurture and support the growth and development of a nations player’s – from grass-root level through to high performance.

A de-brief is something that starts with the competitors on-site immediately post competition. Many may argue that emotions are high, but if your management team members are worth their salt, they will conduct this process with dignity and decorum.

This process is all about gathering information. It is a very simple process the aim of which is to ascertain the answers to three questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be by Rio 2016?
  • How do we plan to get there?

This de-brief process is vitally important. It allows the athletes to speak their minds and air their concerns, giving us an idea of where we are going wrong. For the athlete, the sense of knowing someone cares is very often the difference between winning and losing. And for the management, knowing what concerns to address only serves to ensure the country will have sustained growth and development in every avenue of sport.

During my trip to London, I visited the Global Coaches House, and was sad to learn that I was the only representative from the Indian contingent to have visited that facility. This setup is an initiative by the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) and the IOC that was aimed at creating a platform through which associations, federations, governments and coaches can interact and share expertise. They had workshops and seminars daily, with many keynote speakers who shared their knowledge and knowhow on how to best develop players, coaches and structures. Sadly, once again, as a nation we missed the opportunity to better educate ourselves.

As I mentioned earlier, I wish to take nothing away from our athletes – namely, Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt, and Sushil Kumar – whose stellar performances brought honour to the country and gave us something to cheer about. They deserve all the praise in the world because, despite the lack of support and infra-structure, they rose above all adversity to put India on the sporting map.

What not many people might know is that some of these athletes, and many others who represented the country in London 2012, are products of the fruits of labour of foundations such as the Mittal Champions Trust, Olympic Gold Quest, GoSports Foundation and many more. While they are doing an excellent job, it is simply a quick fix – because they have neither the funds nor the infrastructure to address our nation’s sporting problems at grass root levels, or even more importantly – the fundamental human right that every child deserves the opportunity to play.

 

What do I mean when I say we need structure?

The sporting industry is a trillion dollar industry. Isn’t that not only the answer to economic development in developing countries, but also the answer to eradicating poverty and unifying a nation? I have always maintained that a ‘child in sports’ learns core values such as teamwork, leadership, creativity, pride, overcoming adversity, perseverance and many more. These are the values that will mould our children into ethically and morally sound individuals who can move our nation forward. I guess, somewhere along the line, we must have forgotten that our future is in their hands.

‘Structure’ -  I have been saying this word for a while now and it is time I elaborate. For far too long people have all been saying we need to address our lack of infra-structure to produce athletes who are credible enough to hold their own on an international podium. The truth is that our problems go way beyond that. I am going to give you some thoughts on what a structure entails – the so called ‘verticals’ that are needed to produce athletes, provide opportunity and identify talent.

Treat this as a check box, please!

1.      Long Term Athlete Development Program: This is an athletic model that identifies appropriate training goals at each stage of an athlete’s physical development. It is broken up as follows:

·      Stage 1: FUN-damentals  – between 5-9 years. The focus here is on gross motor skill development and the ABC’s of sport – Agility, Balance, Co-ordination & Speed.

·      Stage 2: Learning to Train - between 9-12 years. The focus here is on teaching the fundamental sport skills + introducing the concepts of warm up, cool downs, proper hydration, appropriate clothing, etc.

·      Stage 3: Training to Train - between 12-16 years. The focus here is on physical conditioning and fundamental sports skills. It is at this stage that we introduce the child to weight training, sports vision training, and more sport specific conditioning. From now on, we also begin to incorporate routines into their practice schedules.

·      Stage 4: Training to Compete - between 16-18 years. The focus here is on optimizing performance and training. We start to incorporate technology and science into the skills training and begin to periodize their competition calendars.

·      Stage 5: Training to Win - 18+. The focus here is purely performance driven. At this stage, we try to take the athlete to the pinnacle of their sport using all available science and technology. We provide access to experienced coaches and trainers who can help them develop into complete professional athletes using a separate model that incorporates the mental,  physical, technical + game strategy, and personal development.

·      Stage 6: Retirement. This stage may seem superfluous, but think about this. We have just invested over 15 years in an athlete who now has a reservoir of knowledge and experience. Shouldn’t we incorporate them into our coaching and administration structures so that they can help bring up the next generation?

The above is a very simple outline of a structure for athlete development that should exist for every code of sport in the country. If we ignore stages 1-4, everything that happens at stage 5 is by dint of pure chance or luck.

 

2.      High Performance Program: This program is a follow on from stage 5 – Training to Win. It is a platform that exists to provide our elite athletes with all the resources necessary to deliver podium performances. We should have a state of the art training facility that houses not only the best athletes, but the best coaches, trainers, doctors, physios, etc., also. It is here that a player’s technique is scrutinized and enhanced, or his/her injuries are appropriately dealt with, giving him/her the best chance to return to the top of the sport. Some of the aspects that are covered in this high performance program are as follows:

·       Physical Conditioning

·       Mental Training

·       Sports Vision

·       Sports Biomechanics

·       Game Strategy & Game Awareness

·       Injury Prevention

·       Video Analysis

·       Sports Education

·       Handling Media

·       Grooming & Etiquette

·       Mentoring Program

If we think about it, even our cricketers who get injured have no access to a state of the art facility or practitioners who can ensure they return to sport. It is no wonder our fast bowlers, barring a few, last only a tour or two before they have broken down. And even those who returned have come back having sacrificed pace. I can’t believe that such a cricket mad nation has allowed this to happen.

 

3.      Coach Education Program: This program ensures the continuous development of our coaches. Most of our athletes have international coaches or, even worse, train abroad. This may be acceptable on an elite level, but if we do not have a structure in place that addresses the educational needs of our coaches, how can we nurture talent at grass root level? Honestly speaking, knowing this, can you blame parents for pushing their children towards academics? After all, we have no development structure, no coaches, no support system, no infra-structure and no education program to ensure that the people who are responsible to nurture talent are up to scratch.

The coach education program should be a prerogative of the government or sports ministry that is enforced by every sports association or federation in the country. It is about getting the ‘buy in’ of all the coaches who are looking after our children.

 

4.      Train the Trainer Program: This program is designed to empower your organization and disseminate knowledge down the line. The ‘train the trainer’ program identifies people along a chain whose sole responsibility it is to ensure your protocols, policies, training manuals, guidelines, safety mechanisms, and continual education are passed on from elite to grass root level.

How it works is a follows:

  • Policies, procedures, guidelines and manuals are put in place
  • People are appointed at National Level who are trained in every sphere
  • They train similar personnel who are appointed at regional level
  • The regional trainers train similar individuals who train people at district level
  • The district level trainers train grass root coaches through seminars and workshops

The importance of a ‘train the trainer’ program cannot be emphasized enough. With India being so vast and with so many cultural diversities, how else can we get knowledge to the people who can make a difference?

 

5.      Disabled Sports Program: Since I am an activist for human rights and equality, I believe strongly in a program that ‘Enables the Disabled”. Every code of sport should have a structure that can nurture and develop the skills of those physically or mentally disabled in any way or form. It is extremely sad that most of our disabled athletes are severely discriminated against, so much so that many of them can’t even afford to find funding to train to represent their country at a Paralympic Games.

Starting a program that enables the disabled in every code of sport is not the work of a foundation or cause, it is the responsibility of every single one of us. It is an emergency. Otherwise, we have all contributed to the mass discrimination that currently exists.

 

Just to put things in perspective, the above five verticals are integral components to the development of a sport in a country. It is the only way we can ensure that we will produce a consistent flow of athletes who can represent India on a global stage.

To those who can’t see where we have gone wrong - the above verticals should exist in the structure of every sports association or federation in the country – every single one!! How many, including cricket, have such a structure in place?

Steve Waugh once told me, “the strength of a team lies in the strength of its reserve”. My question to you is: How strong is our reserve?

 

Actions speak louder than words:

In a creative world, the greatest leaders are generally ‘optimistic about the future, but pessimistic about the tasks.’ They are generally ‘excited about the potential of new ideas, but deeply concerned about managing those ideas as projects’. Because they know that every idea is associated with a project, and every project revolves around ideas you want to put into action.

Everything you want to do is a project!

And every project needs a plan – An Action Plan.

 

What is our Action Plan going forward?

Till now, this piece was focused on giving you a framework for developing sport in the country. But these are only ideas, and for ideas to be converted into projects, we need action.

No action steps means no action, which means no results.

 

The following are my thoughts on the way forward. So called “Action Steps” that will see us moving in the right direction.

1. It may be late, but better late than never. The Sports Ministry must appoint a person to de-brief our athletes. Ask the following questions:

  • What was your preparation like for London 2012?
  • Where did you fall short and why?
  • What can we do to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes in Rio 2016?
  • What are your future plans?

2. The Sports Ministry must ask for a de-brief report from every federation/association that sent athletes to London 2012.

3. The Sports Ministry must appoint a person to assess the development framework for every code of sport that receives funding. What are their current coaching/development plans? Are they being administered accordingly?

4. The Sports Ministry must hold an Indaba (Workshop) which is compulsory for every federation/association in India. The aim of this workshop is to develop a coaching framework and long term athlete development plan. It is easier to get people to “buy in” to something if they are a part of creating it.

5. The Sports Ministry must appoint an “Action Committee” that will perform the needful analysis on the data collected. This data will help us ascertain the situation of sport in our country. It will also put measurable criteria in place, which will hold federations and associations more accountable.

6. The Sports Ministry must put together a ‘Committee of Experts’ who can best advise us on the way forward. They will be responsible for overseeing the entire process of developing a framework for every federation & association. I stress the importance of these people being ‘experts’, as they hold the key to our nation’s sporting future.

 

I think we are all in agreement that the state of sports in our country needs to change. For far too long we have sat back and watched as our country’s athletes suffer, as they are ‘hung out to dry’; these are the very people who have, year after year, made us proud to be Indian.

This is a fight for equality and change – and it is a fight you cannot afford to sit out of.

@shayamalv

 

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