Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Let Your Mind Takeover

With the London Olympics around the corner, the questions in all of our mind is, "How many medals is India going to win"? Being so close to top competitive form myself, fresh off the 2 Olympics that i have competed in and having the experience of both winning and loosing, i can actually feel myself get into the skin of every Indian athlete bound for the mega sporting extravaganza.

There are four months to the opening ceremony and here onwards, the mind takes over. The competitions prior to the Olympic Games can be extremely important. Every sportsperson will sensibily use these opportunities to be in top competitive form by Jul/Aug at the time of the Games. Like a Tiger in sight of the prey in a herd, instinct will tell him when to launch, provided he has had the experience to have built one and trusts his instinct.

Who you win against, how you win, or how you have played even if lost, the ability and the confidence to re produce the moves, or the small errors that you are happy to have noticed now rather then later, the feeling of conserving the hunger to win- to let a weaker player win prior to the Olympics and smile within. The continuous tempering of your mind, like a guitar that is being tuned to play the perfect note when called upon; the feeling itself is sheer magic.

Just like being in the thick of anti terrorist operations- heightened senses, ready yet relaxed muscles, eyes watching in peripheral vision, listening in to the people and sensing their emotions for a give away, the feeling of being hunted while hunting. Such moments are pure magic, off course, only later. At that moment, you are zoned, too involved to feel pleasure or fear and if you do feel either, you are close to being dead, be it a soldier or a sportsperson (figuratively).

I have a good sense of how each of our athletes and sportspersons will fare. Its also time to leave them to do what best they can do. The unpredictability is the spice of life and hope keeps us going, the mind is so powerful that it maker turn dreams into reality. Lets watch them closely from now to the Olympic Games and may the best player win. Sports to look out for- Boxing, Archery, Shooting, Badminton

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Life Saving Intervention to Resurrect Sports

We are living in a world that is constantly changing. Yet, ironically, India’s Sports bodies do not want to change. Implying that either our present sports administrations are much superior to that of other countries or that we have interests other then sports and prestige of our country guiding our actions.

Why are sports important? Why should WE as a Nation bother?

We bother because we take pride to be Indians and sports is directly linked to national pride.

Sports are a part of any countries ‘soft power’ projection and to take charge of our own destiny in the arena of sports, we need to involve all stakeholders right from stage of preparation to celebration of victories. It’s time that positive changes were introduced in the functioning of Sports bodies.

The onus to bring in the change thus falls onto the ‘Ministry’ that deals with Indian sports. It is here the surgeon’s knife, which cuts to heal is required. If this is termed as ‘intervention’, then it is life saving intervention. In short, we have to rescue sports from administrative apathy and lethargy.

The sports bodies are crying foul about infringement of autonomy. The writing is on the wall, the governments that have set their houses in order are of major sporting nations- USA (Ted Stevens and Amateur Sports Act 1998), South Africa (National Sports and Recreation Act 1998), France (France Code of Sports) last amended in 2006, to the extent our neighbours too have kept pace, Sri Lanka (Sports Act 2005), Malaysia (Sports Development Act 1997) to name a few.

Lets consider the key issues being introduced via the bill:-

Sports persons to be part of governing body: A governing body is the highest decision making entity in sports bodies. Consider this, you go for an emergency operation in a hospital and find the team about to operate on you is that of MBA’s; would you let them operate just because they partly administer the hospital. Why is result so important here and not in sports; because here the pain is part of us, however in sports we can get into denial mode and look the other way. The presence of sportspersons will provide the much-needed technical expertise while taking important decisions in the interest of the sport. The sportspersons, to be on the board, will be elected from amongst themselves.

The sports bodies to come under ‘Right To Information Act’: Administering sports for a country is a public obligation not a private business. It gives the administrators privileges and also shoulders them with certain responsibilities -being answerable to the citizens of the country. RTI is however applicable for only a part of the functions of the sports bodies and not with team selections and personal information about the athlete. Coming under the purview of RTI Act has a big pay off too; transparency in the functioning of the sports bodies will encourage corporates to extend financial support, something that is lacking in present sporting environment. The present decadence in our sports bodies and the way they are perceived is a direct result of lack of transparency and application of RTI Act will go a long way in ameliorating the situation.

The age and tenure limit: Now per se, I agree that age and efficiency are not indirectly proportional. There are a few good workers in our existing sport bodies. The exceptions however prove the rule. A sports body ought to be quite the opposite of a permanent residence; it should be the active grounds for bright ideas, administrators on their toes just as the athletes are, that’s when you are poised to perform. The occupants state a counter charge, “the prime minister does not have an age or tenure limit so why should we”. This only suggests the absurdity of the argument. The closest example should have been the charter of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) itself, which limits the age and tenure. It is followed in many countries including USA and China yet the IOC does not recommend it for India. 12 years, as the suggested tenure cap, is a time long enough for policies to be implemented and their results to be seen. For the efficient, it is enough and for others it will never be enough.

The ‘mantra’ to success in any field is adaptation and innovation, infusion of new ideas and good doze of young blood. In sports too this is the path to follow and the road to success has to begin by changing the way our Sports bodies are organized and the way our sports mandarins work.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life's A Race, Is It Really!!

I received this as an email. I found it inspiring and thus have put it on my blog for you to read:-

It was a Sports Stadium.
Eight Children were standing on the track to participate in a running event.
* Ready! * Steady! * Bang !!!
With the sound of Toy pistol,
All eight girls started running.
Hardly had they covered ten to fifteen steps,
when one of the smaller girls slipped and fell down,
Due to bruises and pain she started crying.
When the other seven girls heard the little girl cry they stopped running, stood for a while and turned back.
Seeing the girl on the track they all ran to help.
One among them bent down, picked her up and kissed her gently
And enquired as to how she was..
They then lifted the fallen girl pacifying her.

Two of them held her firmly while all seven joined hands together and walked together towards the winning post........

There was pin drop silence at the spectator's stand.
Officials were shocked.
Slow claps multiplied to thousands as the spectators stood up in appreciation.
Many eyes were filled with tears
And perhaps even God's!
YES.!! This happened in Hyderabad [INDIA], recently!
The sport was conducted by

National Institute of Mental Health.

All these special girls had come to participate in this event
They were spastic children.
Yes, they were Mentally Challenged.