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Will India take next steps to secure sporting legacy?

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Gordon Farquhar | 16:47 UK time, Thursday, 14 October 2010

As the last retorts of the closing ceremony fireworks fade away, the temptation for those involved in staging the Commonwealth Games might be to sit back, relax, washed in the relief of having got over the line despite the difficulties.

I think I'd be doing the same, but for India, the job's not done. I think it's just beginning as India has an opportunity to seize here, in the shape of a proper sporting legacy.

After all, why go through the angst and expense of staging an event on such a scale, if there's no longer-term reward?

Front page headlines about a spectacular closing ceremony are little more than tomorrow's chip wrappers. India needs something more substantial.

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The highs and lows of Indian athletes in Delhi [UK users only]

What Delhi has now in terms of a physical legacy is some world-class venues. I particularly liked the aquatics centre and swimming's governing body Fina should be lobbied to stage a World Championships there.

The Siri Fort Complex, where the squash and badminton, was staged is a striking piece of confident modern design, the hockey facilities first class, the re-vamp of the main stadium effective.

There is the human legacy too. There are people here who have learned a huge amount about staging major sporting events. The expertise they have gleaned needs to be capitalised upon, and consolidated.

Above all, India has a group of competitors who have achieved a new sporting high.

Crowds in the venues might have been sparse at times, but millions have followed the games on TV, and surely some will have been inspired to look beyond cricket and hockey to see what can be achieved by their countrymen and women in archery, table tennis, badminton and track and field.

The responsibility for making this happen now shifts to the Government, and the time to act is now. The authorities in India have taken out half-page adverts in the papers, detailing their financial commitment to the athletes in the build up to the Games.

They understood that a successful event needs a winning home team, and that the investment has to start sufficiently up-front.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, they claim that 678 million rupees - about £10m has been invested in ''training, foreign exposure, sports and medical equipment, and upgradation of training centres".

That compares with a figure of approximately £600,000 before the Games came along.

The advert signs off with a sentence in bold type, ''The Govt. of India will continue to support our sportspersons to achieve enhanced levels of performance.''

What they don't say is whether that will be at the same level of investment allocated for the Games. If it slips back close to the sums previously allocated, it won't be sufficient to make a difference.

In a classic piece of hyperbole, the organising committee have also placed a half-page newspaper ad, claiming they have, ''ignited a billion dreams, and re-inforced a billion aspirations".

That's quite a lot of reverie, and if they're right, a lot of demand to meet from young Indians wanting to give Olympic sports a go.

Speaking on Tuesday evening, after India's women won the 4x400m relay, London 2012 chairman Lord Coe wondered if victory would prove to be the country's "Cathy Freeman" moment, a point in time where an entire nation's attention was drawn to the athletics track, a physical reference point where in 10 years time people could look back and say, ''That's where I decided to have a go at track and field.''

In a country with a population in excess of a billion, there is huge scope for talent identification.

India could become a sporting power as strong as China, but only if there is a plan and a will, plus the resources to make it happen. The race is on, the first test in London in less than two years from now.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I hope India will continue the legacy and should have learned lot of lessons as well especially about media management.But who cares it is gr8 success in India and all the Indians are happy. Probably doesn't need a quality control master/inspector like BBC any more, let India sort its own mess about the games preparation etc.

    Sport is a ultimate winner and pessimism/negativism always looses.

  • Comment number 2.

    can't you guys now just scram ,the games are over , go to wet london,bye.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good article, but, Laissez Faire
    et Bon Voyage

  • Comment number 4.

    I mostly agree with the article above... With the successful completion of CWG-2010, India must build up its sports culture.
    Sports should come out of people's mindset as "recreational" and become more "professional". And government's job is to provide support and infrastructure to help budding athletes achieve global success on a regular basis.
    I hope that day is not far away when India gains TOP-5 position in Olympics medal tally! Come on India - Dikha do!

  • Comment number 5.

    India has nothing to prove to anyone. India has been on the world map for over 5000 years and it will continue to do so...

    India's strength is not in discriminating its in unity...just a small instance of it was ayodha verdict that came out 3 days before CWG kicked off...if it was anyother country on the planet it would have been unthinkable..

    India is the last and Only truly uniquely secular country left on the planet...

    A games legacy is not only measured in results its measured in what happened in the process of to get these results.Indian athletes have struggled against odds to product the results I hope their struggle is carried on, the process that got use to number 2 in medals table is carried to the next phase.

    At the end of the day, when any athelete from any country wins a medal, its the collective human spirit that shines through no race,creed or culture....We Indians Understand that!! So expect more Indians in London 2012 Podium.

    Jai Hind

  • Comment number 6.

    Another good blog. This is important for the Indian government to follow this up. They might no think it worth it given some of the feedback but it is always good to take the risk. It would be a crime if this early success was not followed up.

  • Comment number 7.



    "Cricket loss makes Oz athletes take it out on washing machine"

    NEW DELHI: At the top of the medal tally and the undisputed champions of the Commonwealth Games, the Australian team, sadly didn't show any sporting spirit when their cricket team lost the Test series to India on Wednesday.

    Enraged by the humiliating loss, some athletes, according to highly-placed sources in Delhi Police, went berserk, destroying electrical fittings and furniture in their tower in the Games Village on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    Not just that, policemen posted there say they also shouted slogans against batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who played a pivotal role in ensuring India's victory in the Bangalore match, and flung a washing machine down from the eighth floor of their tower.

    Their hooliganism started on Tuesday when Sachin scored a double century. "The house-keeping staff tried to stop them but to no avail," said a senior police officer handling security inside the Village. Stunned by the little master's stellar performance, they first damaged electrical fittings and fixtures in their block.

    On Wednesday, when India brownwashed Australian 2-0 to keep the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Australian athletes reportedly threw a washing machine down from the eighth floor, said a senior officer. Mercifully, no one was injured.

    Delhi Police, which received a complaint about this vandalism, tried to downplay the incidents to prevent them from snowballing into a diplomatic embarrassment for Australia.

    On reports that some Australian athletes went berserk inside the Games Village after their cricket team lost the Test series to India, a senior officer posted there said that they have not received any complaints from Organising Committee (OC) which owns the property inside the Games Village. "Therefore, we have not registered any case," said a senior police officer.

    Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said: "No complaint has been received. We have found a broken washing machine from the block where the athletes were staying. We are trying to establish as to how the machine reached there."

    OC officials didn't pursue the matter. "We have not given any complaint and the matter has been sorted out after discussion with the Australian chef-de-mission," said an official. When asked whether the Australian athletes have tendered any apology, he declined any comment.


    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cwgarticleshow/6750851.cms

  • Comment number 8.

    I am at a loss Mr Farquhar. Do all media folk believe everyone behaves as they do, watching something on a box and undergoing some kind of divine conversion?

    The Commonwealth Games is an event. India hosted it. The BBC sent a whole population of people to cover it. It started; it finished; it is forgettable, if not instantly then certainly in a matter of hours.

    I had a Cathy Freeman moment yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.....

  • Comment number 9.

    Am I glad that the games passed off without a hitch ! Now we Delhites have to pick up the tab for the gross stealing that went on. I think India should not aim to host ANY big event until it can provide better for its populace. Let you big boys do that.

    It should not be a part of the national aspiration to host an event unless it's for the people of our country and not to "showcase" India to the world. If the strictures on Delhi are any indication, it is not something we want.

  • Comment number 10.

    Gordon,
    The fact of the matter is that BBC and other british media has lost all credibility in the eyes of the Indian public.The biggest losers of the CWG will be the BBC and it should really focus on its own legacy and future in Asia.
    India will never forget the attitude of the Western media at these games and there will be a high price to pay in terms of trade and foreign investment with Britain in the future. Many students may also be put off by such negativity and decide not to study in the UK or the wealthier Indians may not want to holiday in the UK.The negativity has left deep scars in the hearts of the Indian public and that is your legacy.WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

  • Comment number 11.

    @8 holly-bush-berry

    It started; it finished; it is forgettable, if not instantly then certainly in a matter of hours"

    When your fellow britons can urinate on war memorials and forget the sacrifice they made to your country,then we certainly don't expect you to remember the CWG.

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/War-Memorial-Yob-Caught-On-CCTV-Urinating-At-Cenotaph-In-Warrington-Cheshire/Article/200912215498057?lpos=UK_News_Article_Related_Content_Region_2&lid=ARTICLE_15498057_War_Memorial%3A_Yob_Caught_On_CCTV_Urinating_At_Cenotaph_In_Warrington%2C_Cheshire

  • Comment number 12.

    I think the media report by BBC s soutik biswas as well as the indian media helped to improve matters. PM Manmohan Singh called for an urgent meeting to set things straight. It worked and the CWG went well after that.

    so mick dont blame the BBC.they were just doing doing their job. the reports in the indian media was far more critical than BBC.

    dont blame the messenger, blame the govt officials.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    57. At 6:34pm on 15 Oct 2010, Aru wrote:
    Congaratulations to all involved in the games for making it a big success. Congratualtions to BBC for becoming public enemy no#1 for more than 1.2+ billion people in the world.what a waste of my licence fee?

    Better call you Biased Broadcasting Committe

    Let India sort it's own mess.

    I agree about lessons should be learnt from the games like sort out corruption, mediocrity etc but main lesson what India people learnt is don't give a damn to foreign media(especially Imperial BBC)

  • Comment number 15.

    Please look into this petition about BBC anti India reporting and if you like it send it to as many people as you can.hope this petition will change BBC attitude in future

    http://www.PetitionOnline.com/hindutva/petition.html

 

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