Yesterday, we witnessed a historic sporting event when India’s women cricket team beat Pakistan, to lift their 6th Asia Cup title in Bangkok. What is very special about this victory is also that India stands unbeaten for 32 matches in the tournament.Their performance was lauded by eminent personalities, such as Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, among others.
2016 has been filled with sporting achievements by Indian women, in all kinds of sporting events. Our women – Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar– displayed an exemplary performance at Rio 2016, and similarly Deepa Malik did us proud during the Paralympics. Our women rocked at the Asian Beach Games by winning the gold for Kabaddi 5th year in a row. Adding to this, Sania Mirza became world number 1 doubles player in tennis.
At Centre for Social Research, we have always been big supporters of women’s sports. We had earlier reported how the women’s team was totally neglected by media during ICC T20 World Cup held in March this year, as well as the issue of equal pay for women in sports. Our strong belief is that encouraging women in sports is a very significant way of empowering them. Recently, Nike’s ‘Da Da Ding” advertisement, featuring 12 sportswomen and Deepika Padukone also reaffirmed the importance of sports, in the process of women emancipation.
Here, we would like to point out that the infrastructure and facilities provided to sportspersons must be bettered for us create many more successful sporting, male and female, world champions. One of the primary causes of concern is that it is politicians and not sportspersons, who are on governing bodies of sports committees. Only one sports association (SA)–the Athletics Federation of India–has a former national athlete as president. Only nine SAs have former or present players on their governing bodies. Since 1920, when India first started sending its contingent to the Olympics, we have won only 24 medals, a feat which is achieved by countries like China, Korea, Jamaica, and others, in one year. As per a report published by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, only 63 per cent of primary schools and 66 per cent of upper primary schools had playgrounds. If all schools, including secondary and senior secondary schools, are taken into account, only 60 per cent had playgrounds. Lack of proper training, poor infrastructure, neglecting sports in school curricula, and a culturally ingrained apathy and ignorance towards sportspersons, is stopping us from being a superpower, in more ways than one.
Despite the many hurdles, our women’s cricket team managed to succeed and how! Three cheers to them, and wishing for many more such successes!
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