The importance of sports in people's lives cannot be denied. It is important to introspect its positive role in the socio-political milieu of a country like India. We look especially towards the state of Haryana, where sports activities must be enhanced for the overall growth and development of the society of Naya Haryana that we have envisioned.
We must remember that besides its economic, physical and social significance, sports activities are a very important source of human capital as they channelise the vibrant energy of the youth to productive ends. Proper sports training opportunities also help to recognise the budding talents in the state by imparting higher moral and ethical standards in sports and inculcating a desire in youth to excel in the games. In Haryana, these objectives have found a heightened meaning as the Haryana government implemented its Sports Policy of 2009 and its rejoinder, the State Youth Policy of 2012, in which special emphasis has been given to sports infrastructure, giving prestigious incentives to sportspersons in the state, awards to coaches in the different sports activities, establishing sports academies and talent search across all parts of Haryana, and most importantly, providing sufficient grants for the organisation and promotion of sports associations in each district of the state. The state government in Haryana has allotted rupees 2.50 lakhs to each of the 21 districts per year, for the proper functioning of these associations. An additional rupees 2 lakhs per year is granted to every District Olympics Association in each district, to organise sports festivals to encourage the youth to bring out their talents.
While it is true that Haryana government is deploying means for the state to excel in sports activities, much more administrative efficiency is required in Haryana for the state to be a forerunner in sports facilities. Although statistics indicate that Haryana contributed as much as 16% share of the total Olympic contingent from India that went to Beijing in 2008, the question to ask is, are sports facilities equitably distributed across the state? In other words, what steps must Haryana take to ensure more winners in Sports?
One of the oldest multipurpose sports stadiums in Haryana is the Mahabir Stadium in Hisar district, built in 1972. Interestingly, there is a scarcity of stadiums being constructed in the state till today. Unlike states of West Bengal, Kerala and Punjab which are known for having an increasing presence of sports stadiums, Haryana has primarily a handful of other famous stadiums within its geographic locales such as BILT Football Stadium, Nahar Singh International Cricket Stadium and the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, among others. A number of akharas, with inferior quality infrastructure and sporting facilities have, however, come up in place of well-constructed stadiums in Haryana. For Haryana to reach global standards of sporting, a greater number of block-level stadiums with superior infrastructure must be built, besides the 171 stadiums that are under construction. The state also needs international sports complexes with user-friendly sports infrastructure to be built with the able technical guidance of urban and rural development authorities in the state.
Popularly called the sporting state of India , Haryana must direct its youth resources towards sporting activities by guaranteeing proper training by world-class coaches. Sportsmen and coaches must also be paid performance-scholarships and incentives to support themselves during such periods. Scholarships for the Sports and Physical Aptitude Test (SPAT), a talent hunt competition in the state must be increased for more children to actively participate in it. Travel allowances and concessions must be made to players of different games, such that they can afford the best quality training facilities in any quarter of the state of Haryana.
Awareness and inspiration to youth is one of the key elements of enhancing the value of sports in Haryana. Regular sports sessions, workshops among school children and world-class academies in games such as football, wrestling, basketball, kabaddi, boxing, cricket and others can help inculcate the significance of sports in young minds, such that they can consider sports as a profession rather than just a hobby. Sports nurseries must be built in more numbers in the state, along with the 52 that are already running. Coaches and supervisors training in these nurseries must meet targets and ensure healthy growth of these budding sportsmen through special medical attention and treatments.
On a final note, excellence in sports alone will ensure that Haryana witnesses an impressive number of winners in the different games. Human resource development can be directed towards human capital in sporting activities in Haryana only through the correct implementation of sports policies which highlight superior infrastructural and training facilities. In this way, a Naya Haryana will truly excel in leading the nation to world-class sports.