The 20th Common Wealth Games at Glasgow, Scotland ended recently where India secured 5th position by winning 64 medals including 15 Gold. England topped the tally followed by Canada, Australia and host Scotland. Both houses of Indian Parliament complemented all the players especially those who made the country proud by winning medals in respective games.
In 2010 Delhi Common Wealth Games, India finished second with 101 medals. It is interesting to find that the total population of the top four medal winning countries is 1000 million less than India's population, but the number of medals they won is simply seven times more than what India could win. Isn't the message loud and clear for the second most populous country of the world and for a country which proudly claims to have the largest population of youths as well?
"All work and no play make Jack a dull boy"- it has been said whenever we start talking about the importance of sports and games in our life, particularly in the life of our children and youths. But then how only 10% of primary schools in the country have play grounds for children?
This is an open fact that sports activities are great learning as well as self-fulfilling experience in itself. It greatly helps develop many leadership qualities - from time management to relationship building to discovering one's own latent potential and inherent strengths and what not, which are the vital prerequisites for all round upbringing - emotionally, socially, morally, intellectually and physically, of our children.
The sports authorities both in states and at the centre must recognise the importance of sports and games not only from educational point of view but also from social, cultural and health points of view. As such, it must be treated as one of the most essential part of educational curriculum both in letter and in spirit and adequate funds be allocated for encouraging, organising and pursuing sports activities on priority so as to realise the desired goals in reality on an on-going basis. It is needless to reiterate that all sports loving citizen should encourage and support sports activities in their respective places in all possible ways.
The enthusiasm of children and youths in respect of not only playing games and participating in sports activities but also watching games and cheering players is the testimony of their inner urge and natural response on the matter. It's well known that sports like cricket, football, hockey, lawn tennis, badminton etc. are played internationally and are promoted commercially by corporate houses world over. But the recent Kabaddi matches played in some cities including Patna proved beyond doubt that this least expensive game popular in rural India for several decades, can also receive unimaginable support of children and youth together with necessary sponsorship to make the event a great success.
And finally the encouraging words of Swami Vivekananda on the subject: ‘First of all, our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards. Be strong, my young friends, that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of the Gita….You will understand the Gita better with your biceps, your muscles, a little stronger…..'
Milan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing.