Overhaul Indian sports bodies: CPI-M

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New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) In the wake of India’s Olympic fiasco, all the sports federations must be overhauled and delinked from political patronage, the CPI-M has said.

“They should become democratic bodies in which sports people have the major say,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said in an editorial in its journal “People’s Democracy”.

“A comprehensive sports policy which views sports as part of the all round development of youth and the welfare of society has to be put in place,” it added.

The editorial followed the poor showing by Indian athletes and sportspersons at the Rio Olympics where India won only a silver and a bronze medal each.

The editorial said the failure to excel in sports was not the fault of individual athletes but was a product of the poor sports infrastructure in the country, the lack of public funding for sports and the pernicious grip of a political-bureaucratic nepotism over the sports federations.

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“The dismal state of sports in India is summed up in the lack of sport facilities – poor stadiums, lack of gymnasiums and swimming pools. This is compounded by poor State funding – of meagre scholarships and incentives for young students to take sports activities seriously.”

It said the showering the two Rio medal winners with crores of rupees and other gifts, however deserved, did not address the basic problem regarding Indian sports.

“It would be better if the state governments and the central government embark on a plan to build sports infrastructure on a large scale and provide adequate funds for the training and upkeep of the young sports talent,” it said.

“The lopsided emphasis on cricket and the corporate sponsorship for this game over all other sports has to be given up.”

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