Thursday, August 14, 2008

‘Gold’en shot!

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?


  1. Good point. On lighter note... for button i would say... railways ka job :-) Not only can he have Laloo as role model, he also gets to pursue sport of choice.

  2. Sports, in India, are marred by politics at each and every level. Honestly speaking other than Cricket and Lawn Tennis (for select few) no other sport in India is paying. Though Hockey is fast catching up with the two but still has a long way to go.

    Some of my very close friends have played Basketball and Taekwondo at the national level, which helped them only till the extent of getting admission in a decent college, for their bachelors. The latter even represented India in Malaysia but travelled on his own expense as there was no one to sponsor him. There are various academies to train athletes but most of them are substandard. Also one has to play the game for satisfaction mostly as money is elusive. Our good old Mr. Bindra comes from a rich family and has his very own personal training area and as for Mr. RVS Rathod, he is in the army and thus has a good training facility at his end.

    PS: I dont mean to discourage you in any way but i am only stating the truth.

  3. I wouldn't be gung-ho about making sports a primary career in India. As an alternate career, I suppose states like Punjab and haryana probably qualify as the most developed in terms of supporting sportsman. But even then , I think influence and clout matters.