India And Australia Team Up For Sports Admin
Amit Batra | On 13, Oct 2016
In India, sport is often considered a ‘waste of time’, and sports administration – as evidenced by the Commonwealth Games scam – has been the bastion of greedy politicians and uninterested wastrels. Now, starting with a workshop on the subject, Australia is collaborating with India to create a sporting ecosystem.
Ever since India’s disastrous run at the Olympics this year, it looks like sports administrators are taking to heart some of the negative feedback that has been heaped upon them by irate fans. Yes, there is corruption present in sports administration in the country, but could it be that we’re doing something else wrong?
In a two-week Sports Exchange programme that happened in early October, Australian sports administrators are helping their Indian counterparts figure out the answer to that question.
It is well known that Australia has a famously good sporting culture and ecosystem which India is trying to emulate and build. In a reciprocal agreement last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country, he made a bid for greater cooperation in sport, thereby giving rise to this workshop as a first step in mutual capacity building.
The other big talking point in India has been the fact that all resources and popularity are enjoyed by one sport – cricket – so a key part of the workshop will speak about how to reduce imbalances of this kind in sports administration so that all of them can develop hand in hand.
Participants in the workshop had interactive sessions with Hockey Australia, a meeting with the Commonwealth Games Association to discuss planning for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and a guided tour around Australia’s many state-of-the-art sporting facilities at which their athletes train.
The workshop is being sponsored by the Australian Government in association with experts from the University of Canberra. The university boasts of many courses offered as part of its curriculum in the field of sports management, and officials have arrived to offer their expertise in these matters to participants.
In the words of Acting High Commissioner Chris Elstoft: ‘Our sports engagement with India is a key element of our bilateral relationship. Sport is about much more than test matches and Olympic medals. India is working to create a sporting ecosystem and Australia is well-positioned to help. This workshop is only the first step.’
India has forever been a country that does not take its sport seriously. Its people are more concerned with academics and careers. If this workshop can reverse the trend and get more people playing sport, then it can be considered a success. Olympic medals are only a happy side effect of creating a true sporting culture which would make the people of India healthier and happier.