Olympic Gold Quest managing director and CEO Viren Rasquinha points to countries focusing on two to three sports that they dominate, as a way to move forward the growth of Indian sports. He uses Norway and Belgium as examples of sporting success.
Previous- India The men’s hockey captain and two Olympians explain that companies can be leveraged to seek support from the countries involved and also what companies are looking for before evaluating sponsorship approaches. Interstate events such as the Khelo India Youth Games, National Games can guide countries on which sport to focus on and make an impact.
On Norway and Belgium as examples of sporting success:
If you analyze small countries that do well in sports, like Norway and Belgium for example, it happened because of a very dedicated, focused and committed approach. Norway has achieved a youthful achievement in tennis in Casper Ruud, a sensational football forward in Erling Haaland, and 400m hurdles Karsten Warholm (Tokyo 2021 champion). Belgian footballers have left their mark in the country Globalism In the cup and in the clubs, the national hockey team did not qualify at the 2004 Athens Olympics, when I was competing. Now they are Olympic men’s podium finishers (2021 Tokyo gold, 2016 Rio silver). In the span of 10-12 years, the nation has become a leader in hockey.
Belgium has done three or four things well in hockey…. They made sure that their grassroots structure is very strong, the quality of coaches at every level (youth, intermediate and elite hockey in men’s and women’s) is excellent, and the level of the local league is high. The national team is one of the most experienced teams in world hockey, with key players competing together for more than two Olympics. The football team has reached the semi-final stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
More pointers from Belgium for Indian Sports:
If a small nation like Belgium picks up some sports and really goes deep, in a country as diverse as India, I think that’s what every state can focus on. Instead of trying to do well in 10 disciplines, states can choose two or three sports where they can make a profound impact. For example, my state of Maharashtra has such a rich culture of hockey, if we have a long-term plan, then hockey is definitely one of the sports we can delve into and we’ve done very well historically. I haven’t analyzed other sports that could be the focus here, Maharashtra has produced international long distance runners, so one division in athletics could be chosen.
Haryana has done well in wrestling, boxing and women’s hockey.
Northeastern states excelled in soccer, boxing, judo and taekwondo, for example. If each state can focus on three or four sports and go deeper, and work closely with businesses in that state in order to get support for long-term plans, I think that’s something Indian sports can think about in depth.
On the way forward to put such plans into action:
Each state will need a think tank to analyze the choice of sport to focus on. As important as exercise is, it is equally important to decide which sports to exclude from this plan. I think it makes sense as part of a national plan to do this, you need to define the criteria when choosing a sport. Parameters can be the current talent pool, future talent, consideration of the culture and traditions around the sport in a particular nation, pipeline of coaches for the sport.
It gives them an opportunity to invest in the sport for the long term.
This does not mean that the state does not support outliers … Weightlifting Mirabai Chanu, gymnast Deepa Karmarkar are outliers. Amazing actors like themselves are examples that can continue to gain support, even if the sport isn’t traditionally as strong in their country.
On performances at interstate events such as the Khelo India Youth Games, and the National Games as indications:
Competitions at the national level are a good indicator of a country’s prestige. Khelo India Youth Games 2022 (Haryana), National Games 2022 (Gujarat) have been organized in a commendable manner to provide a national platform for sports talents, and to develop the sport across the country.
It should be noted that the National Games were held after an eight-year hiatus. Young talents can’t just train all year long, if there are no competitions, how can they display their quality in front of the selectors. Competition result is the most important factor, Khelo India’s performance and national games can indicate which sports will be shortlisted by different states.
On taking advantage of corporate support for state sports:
I guess what companies want is not for a sports fraternity to go with the begging bowl. The companies want the sports fraternity to come up with a plan. Part of that plan is to have a strong team of the right sporting minds to point them in the right direction.
On Odisha’s reputation as a sporting state and its success in attracting companies:
We say it may be easy for Odisha today (attracting corporate support). It has taken them 10 years of investment in certain sports, 10 long and hard years to even say it can be easy for Odisha. It starts with the vision and commitment of the country’s leadership, and it starts with appointing strong bureaucrats to ensure that the operational part of the sport is of a very strong standard.
On what companies click with when you approach them to support sports:
There is huge potential, we need the right attitude, the right vision from the leadership, and the right bureaucrats involved. We need the best minds in sport together at work, people with the right credibility, stature and mindset going forward. From OGQ’s personal experience of dealing with Indian companies, as long as there is credibility, there is transparency in the use of funds, accountability for the implementation of the program, and last but not least, the program must show an impact, and the support for sports will happen. If these points are attended to, there is no dearth of funds in India for any sport.
On the benefits of Sporting Success for businesses that support the states:
Everyone sees that sports can make you eyeballs. We understand that cricket is by far the number one sport in India, but in a country of over a billion people, there will always be room for other sports to develop, and there will always be eyeballs, even if the TRP is small. , There will be a large number of people watching and following other sports.
On the rotation of the National Games across the states, creating an infrastructure that benefits the host nation:
I’m all for taking the important events across the country, rather than focusing on a few states. I am also not in favor of developing huge competition venues and feel that good training facilities are more beneficial by giving many, many children the chance to play. I would go down below to say that there should be a checklist of the basics to be available in the places, the most important being toilets and showers, especially for females. I find it difficult to take my daughter, my mother, and my wife to competition venues in the country because basics like toilets are not available when I go to watch sports. It is much more effective to create several strong training centers at the community level with the basics in place than stadiums with a huge capacity.
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