I am as proud and happy as all Indians are at Abhinav Bindra’s achievement. An Olympic Gold is no mean feat. Being brought up on a staple of cricket and the occasional tennis match, I was stunned to realize how many avenues of achievement are possible. Given my latest mantle of motherhood, I realize how much his parents must’ve struggled to give him support (and they’ve said so non-stop on every TV channel that exists in India, including a rarely watched Tamil channel called Win TV and on Asianet News!)
I have a tiny li’l son. I would be happy to see him become a world class athlete, but honestly I have no clue where to start. Like most south Indian Iyer families, my relatives often ask me if I’d like Button to become an Engineer or a Doctor or the third front, a Chartered Accountant. I am happy to support my child in whatever career option he wants to pursue, as long as it is above board. But what is the path to the non-conventional options?
In China, I know I can send my child to an athlete’s school. What is the procedure in India? Do athletes have a future if they are not absolutely top of the rung? Will my son be able to face the politics in sports if he gets there? What about life after the atheletic years are over? In western countries, most athletes have a good chance of becoming a trainer at various levels at good salaries. In India, we are still far far behind. I guess in India, “becoming” an athlete is still more of a fluke. What do you think?