TODAY -

Fit India Khelo India

Kamal Baruah *



Can India dream of hosting the Olympics someday? Yes, the indication is definitely given the thumbs up – ‘we can’.

But T20 International at Guwahati recently made a disappointing start for us. What we need is to focus on infrastructural development for providing proper environment for such a big event. Our country has resources and supplies that needs to hold such sporting events.

India has successfully hosted Asian, Afro-Asian, Commonwealth, SAF, IPL, ISL and Cricket World Cup many a times. Also Guwahati held FIFA U-17 as well. India is a country of diversity. There are lots of things that it can show to the world. Moreover, we don't require infrastructural development for the whole nation. Some rapid development in few developed cities will satisfy the job as it happened with Rio Olympics 2016.

And with the infrastructure, a nation also needs to send a satisfactory contingent for medal hopes. To revive Indian sports from the grass-root level, Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) has been introduced to establish India as a sporting super power and reviving the sports culture.

It happens to be a watershed moment in the history of Indian sports as the programme aims at mainstreaming sport as a tool for individual, community, economic and national development.

KIYG, formerly Khelo India School Games, a national level multidisciplinary grassroots games held for two categories, namely under-17 for school and under-21 for college/university students. Every year best 1000 promising and talented are given an annual scholarship of Rs 5 lakh for 8 years to prepare them for the international sporting events.

The importance of sports and fitness in one’s life is invaluable. Playing sports inculcates team spirit, develops strategic & analytical thinking, leadership skills, goal setting and risk taking. A fit and healthy individual leads to an equally healthy society and strong nation too.

Sports are an extremely important component for the overall development of our nation. India in the last few years has made steady progress in the field of Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling and Athletics. Beyond Cricket, this tremendous potential needs to be showcased at a global platform.

It’s time we inspire young talent, give them top-notch infrastructure and training of the highest level. We need to inculcate a strong spirit of participation in sports that enables players to demonstrate their true potential. Only then India can realise its dream of becoming a sports super power.

The third edition of annual competition KISG 2020 is being held at Guwahati after New Delhi and Pune. The importance of sports and fitness in one’s life is precious. Playing sports imprints team spirit develops strategic & analytical thinking, leadership skills, goal setting and risk taking.

A fit and healthy individual leads to an equally healthy society and strong nation. KIYG athletes have been invited to participate across 20 disciplines, namely Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-kho, Lawn-bowls, Shooting, Swimming, Table-tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling at 10 venues.

There are ten thousands participants from the contingents of 35 States/UTs for 451 medal events during 13 action-packed days scheduled from 09 Jan to 22 Jan.

We should Join and support Khelo India initiative to transform India into a global sporting powerhouse in the upcoming years. Should India follow Chinese success as sporting superpower?

The huge foundation during 2008 Beijing Olympics and peoples’ participation made it possible to create a massive billion dollar sports industry. India must show to the world that it can deliver sporting ambitions by investing in the line with the goal. She should regularly put its bid to host international event.

Lifestyle diseases are on the rise due to lifestyle disorders and we can ensure we don't get them by being fitness-conscious. India has recently launched Fit India movement on the eve of National Sports Day for the birth anniversary of Major Dhyanchand on Aug 29.

The love for the sports is in abundance in North East India. The heart and soul of Indian football is in the North East. Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Mizoram are becoming India’s new football powerhouse. With no big sponsors, the government has to create infrastructure at par with international standard as well as national centre for excellence with elite facilities for this hilly region.

Martial Arts are very popular in North East. Karate will make its debut appearance at the Summer Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo. Surprisingly KIYG did not include the importance for that sport despite the availability of players.

Maharashtra, Haryana and Delhi are three strong contenders for this KISG event. We have to raise the aspiration levels of our kids to aim for medal in Olympics. When little known Jalandhar turns hub for sports good industries across India, can North East aspires for Sports Capital Region of India? The potential corporate sponsors will certainly watch with the government’s promises.

However, it can’t have peanut butter without jelly. Indian sports and school curriculum must go hand in hand. Unlike USA, we don’t have no compulsory subjects like Physical Development or Physical Education (PE) in Primary/Elementary/Secondary Education.

CBSE has PE in secondary level only. China pledges PE support to boost student fitness and gives weight when considering school/college admissions. In terms of population, India performs so poorly at the Olympics. But it would be untrue that India does not produce good sportsmen.

There is Tendulkar in international Cricket and India’s hockey won 6 consecutive Olympic Gold in mid 20th century. Indian badminton had more than one success. Those successes come from affluent Indians. Bindra family led India’s celebration of first gold in shooting in Beijing Olympics 2008.

But there is also a story of struggle for every medal won by Mary Kom. India finally realised after KIYG the most empowering initiatives of the Government that hopes to not only give a platform to youngsters to make a future in sport, but also to build India into a sporting nation. Thus the tagline says it all - Hum fit toh India fit.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a freelance writer based in Guwahati. He is a former Air-warrior with IAF and currently working for SBI Dispur.
The Writer can be contacted at kamal(DOT)baruah(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 13 January, 2020 .



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