How AAP plans to give sports a major push and what rest of India can learn from it

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By Santosh Dubey

Sports infrastructure, a development contributor, has been in fact, its own enemy. Indian sports culture or rather the lack of such a culture in the country is attributed to the size of youth population and the dismal performances in many mega-sporting events, that have often been linked to poor sports infrastructure.

Delhi, the national capital, holds a special advantage over other states as it is host to several international games and hence has some world class stadiums and training centers.

In states, sports and its development depends largely on the priority list. Within a few months of coming into power, Aam Admi Party (AAP) has shown interest in promoting a helpful sports culture in the state through its advisory body, Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC). The Commission held a meeting with Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, former tennis player Manisha Malhotra and other sportspersons as well as experts on the issue.

Experts suggested that the state government should map all the existing sport facilities and infrastructure along with the authority that owns them. Also, Delhi government school playgrounds should be opened for community children in the evenings.

“They suggested that government must engage with the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) to open up residential parks for sport,” DDC official said.

“In the meeting, it was also suggested that open spaces be utilized for sports in engagement with the civil society and local people.

“Also, right to play should be considered a legal right of every child at school level. Students’ fitness improvement programs should be launched at school level,” the DDC said in a statement.

According to it, greater allowances and incentives should be given to promote sports as a career.

“In the meeting, it was suggested that State Sports Bill should be drafted and enacted so as to make district and state sports bodies accountable and transparent in their functioning by adopting good democratic principles and best international practices.

“Such as restricting the age and tenure of their office bearers, voluntary disclosures on sports authorities websites, bringing the, under the ambit of Right to Information Act, ensuring free and fair election, creation of state sports tribunal, athletes commission, ethics commission and election commission, among others,” it stated.

Local community involvement is sine qua non to promote sports as a culture. AAP’s approach can well be followed by other states to engage local schools and RWAs in inculcating sporting habits among children. However, other states do not have the kind of infrastructure that Delhi enjoys. So on one hand where Delhi needs to properly utilize its infrastructure in an impartial manner, other states need to develop and improve in an efficient way.

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