Sports in India is a 1500 crore industry... of which 1499 crores goes to cricket. It is a sad statistic but true. We have various sport management groups cropping up all over the country to try their hand in managing athletes but finding these athletes is turning out to be a tall task. The truth is there are none..... Why?
Well a not so anonymous reader of my blog has been commenting on how the domestic circuits in all sports need to be revamped with more people playing to be able to find eventual champions. I couldn't agree with that more. The truth is to be able to get thousands of people playing at all levels and have a competitive domestic circuit is the only way to "breed" future champs.
The last year has given me the opportunity to delve into the various sports in India and from what i have seen the sports we are the closest to an Olympic medal are Archery, Shooting and Boxing. Incidentally, these are also the sports where the domestic circuit is the strongest. Our archers come from below the poverty line and so all their major competitions are national ones. The Archery Association has done a phenomenal job in keeping its circuit of National ranking and prize money tournaments hence there is a lot of depth. Other than Korea we are the only nation who have full time archers and it is now just a matter of fine tuning these athletes to be able to compete at the international stage.
Boxing is similar since most of the pugilists are from rural backgrounds. Haryana has done a great job garnering and nurturing talent and there are around 2000 boxers coming out of that state alone. They to function on a strong domestic schedule and the best boxers are constantly participating in different events around the country.
The shooters also participate in a lot of domestic events, that is a bit skewed because they are forced to participate since only the top 20 shooters can acquire a gun licence. This is a good ploy which forces internal competition which is essential before the kids can compete internationally.
I think all associations should take a look and really set up a great domestic circuit before bidding to host various international tournaments. It is great to host these big time events but not at the cost of national tournaments.
It is the only way we will be able to consistently churn out winners and the Mittal Champions Trust is going to look to support long term sustainable circuits that will be able to eventually sustain themselves.