One swift powerful throw at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, was all it took for Neeraj Chopra to become a
household hero in India. Within minutes he became the talk of the town, the centre of every conversation
and the Pride of India. Every Indian celebrated his golden victory as if it was their own. Whilst basking in the
glory of numerous victories, every Indian heart secretly hoped, wished and prayed for the success of all the
other athletes that represented India. This is the beauty of playing a sport. Not only does it cause millions of
hearts to dance with you when you win but also ignites innumerable dreams. Above all, it unites people
despite their differences – Isn’t that wonderful? The power of sports goes beyond just winning a medal or a
title; be it Cricket, Kabadi or Hockey, the roar of success or the cry of failure is heard across the country.
Aren’t sportsmen and women legends? They manage to unite a diverse nation like India for one common
purpose (A task no politician has achieved till date!). The athletes and sportsmen/women of India are the
ones who are etched in our history and minds forever. Though no single day can ever do justice to the
revolution they create but to commemorate our legends, India celebrates 29th August as the National
Sports Day every year – a celebration that marks the birth of a revered hockey player – Dhyan Chand Singh,
who has left behind the legacy of three consecutive Olympic wins!
As proud as we are of the achievements of our Indian athletes, more often than not Indian parents are
skeptical about the future of their child in sports. Ever asked yourself why does that happen? Besides our
stringent beliefs, our education system has given more emphasis on academics (Thank you, East India
Company!) and somehow we assumed that this is the best way to go about education. Whereas, the
foundation of sports in India can be traced back to the Vedic era (Much before the Brits came, guys!). Over
the years, millions of dreams have been crushed citing that being a sportsman isn;t dignified or serious
enough. Well… we can change this narrative and celebrate not just the victories but the contribution and
necessity of sports in our lives. The future of sports lies in our hands. The next Sachin Tendulkar, Mary Kom
or Neeraj Chopra can be discovered in any lane of our country. However, what makes these athletes
invincible is not pure talent but a combination of skill, determination, hours of practice and tons of support,
training and guidance.
If you are wondering – how do we do this? Here’s where we can start:Equal if not more emphasis should be
given to physical education in schools.The burden of good grades has retracted the attention from indulging
in a sport – this is the first step towards creating this change followed by support from parents. When there
are more children taking up sports the government will have no choice but to invest in better facilities,
provisions and training. Even if not to reach global levels, an hour in the court or under the Sun is all that it
takes to charge up one’s body and rejuvenate one’s mind.
So this National Sports Day, let’s vow to celebrate sports and its many achievements not just on the 29th of
August but every single day by engaging in a sport of some kind. This isn’t for the medals but instead, it is
for a healthier, fitter and a more determined nation.
And don’t forget: Sports not only build better athletes but also better people!