Sports Ecosystem is basically a network of interconnection which exists due to the proper functioning of its key elements which include – governance, financial aid, production of sports goods, marketing strategy, developing the infrastructure and finally scouting and training the talented ones. Now each element of this ecosystem interacts dynamically leading to the proper functioning and growth of the whole infrastructure.
But why is this sports ecosystem important for a country?
The answer to this question solely lies in the fact that when a country has a properly managed sports ecosystem, it will perform exceptionally well in sports. As a result it gets an international recognition on various platforms like Olympics, Para Olympics, Asian games and what not. This in turn raises the importance of that nation and also brings a lot of finance by boosting the tourism and political interest of other countries. But in developed countries like India, where a major part of the finance goes into the Defense (thanks to our neighboring nations!) and the rest in corruption, very little amount is actually being invested for managing our sports ecosystem.
Current scenario of India’s sports ecosystem –
In India the sports sector is managed by our Honorable union sports minister Mr. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who himself is an internationally acclaimed shooter, winning over 25 international medals in various championships. And who else can better understand what’s good for sports than the champion himself? But sadly in recent times, he has brought the functioning of our sports ecosystem in question.
He has openly questioned the existence of the word ‘Authority’ in “Sports Authority of India” (SAI), as it clearly has lost all its pertinence. Today many of our past sports champions are struggling to make their basic ends meet as they don’t get any financial support from our government and the budding talents are not being encouraged by their families and societies due to the lack of financial stability in this field.
So what are the reasons for the failure of our Indian sports ecosystem?
The main reason for its failure is that the sports ecosystem does not just depend on one element but on a system of interconnected networks which should function properly, which clearly isn’t the case these days. The reasons being:
- Corruption– According to a recent survey by the “Corruption Perception Index” (CPI),
India was ranked the 81st most corrupt country among the 180 countries in the world. They were also given scores where a score zero indicated the most corrupt country and 100, the least corrupt country. And unsurprisingly India received a score of 40 out of 100 sharing it with countries like Ghana, Morocco and Turkey. Even China managed to perform better than India this time with a score of 44. Now the question is who’s to blame for? And eventually it is affecting the sports ecosystem of our country, which is also the reason why our sports-men and women are not able to receive the salary or the other privileges that are meant for them.
- Social and economic scenario- Due to the presence of inequality on the basis of poverty, cast system, gender or social status so many deserving people are laid back instead of being encouraged to participate in sports.
- Business mismanagement- A major part of the sports ecosystem of our country is dependent on the business of the sports goods, their retailing and marketing strategies. But in order to have maximum profit they only attract people who are financially strong. As a result people from poor background are not able to afford all of those sports items which they need.
Now how can we make our sports ecosystem balanced and efficient?
- Eradicating corruption- Although it has a long way to go and a lot of tests to pass but once we overcome this barrier, the sports ecosystem can do wonders.
- Bringing new plans into action- The recent examples are :-
Khelo India Program– Launched in September 2017, it focuses on establishing sports as an overall development of individual, community and the nation both financially and socially.
Assistance to National Sports Federations– Launched in July 2018, under this scheme the government will be providing financial assistance to girls and women in order to encourage them for training and participating at both national and international levels.
- Balancing the social and economic inequality- This is a very important aspect especially for developing countries like India, where inequality becomes the main reason for the setback of so many talented people in our country. When given equal chances and with the right kind of opportunities these people have proven themselves time and again. Recent example is the legendary Mary Kom herself, who has become the first women boxer to win six World Championship titles in this year 2018. She is not only an inspiration to girls but every single person who wants to bring medals for their country.
- Encouraging small businesses- An ecosystem also consists of suppliers, lead producers, competitors and stake holders. For the sports ecosystem to run efficiently, it is very important that a fair competition is there and the small businessmen are also encouraged to invest in the sports goods. So that maximum public can have an access to sports product at cheaper rates.
Thus it becomes very important to balance the sports ecosystem of a country for the efficient working of the sports community. Although in today’s date the sports ecosystem of our nation is not of the best quality but with a good governance system and with top quality management, our country can definitely achieve it because with a population of 1.25 billion people we surely aren’t lacking behind in terms of talent! Even in the absence of proper infrastructure and requisite support our athletes have managed to perform well on international platforms. So one can surely believe in the high possibilities of their exceptional achievements when provided with world class support and a balanced sports ecosystem.