Infrastructure key to development of sports

Monday Musing

[ M Doley ]

On nearly every important sports occasion, the people at the helm of affairs talk about abundant talents of the youths of the state in games and sports. They also speak about their future plans to produce champions.

But, as time passes, everything they said is forgotten and the plans and programmes never materialise for the benefit of the sportspersons.

Infrastructure plays a key role in achieving excellence in sports. Not only does it help produce sportspersons of repute, it also encourages the youngsters to participate in sports.

Lack of infrastructure is a major constraint in the development of sports in Arunachal Pradesh. Although the government has developed a number of outdoor stadiums in some districts, still there is an urgent need for indoor stadiums, particularly in the capital region.

The cry for a multipurpose stadium in the capital still remains a distant dream. The demand remains unfulfilled for more than one decade for one reason or another. Moreover, unavailability of land for building sports infrastructure in the capital region is another major obstacle.

It is alleged that many ‘community hall type’ sports infrastructures developed under the Khelo India initiative are lying unused or are getting ruined without serving the intended purpose as these infrastructures have been developed in remote places, where sports activities are hardly organised.

Many sports mentors criticise the government for selecting the places for construction of sports infrastructures in interior places. They opine that, had a few of those infrastructures been developed in the capital region, they would not have faced difficulties in organising national-level sports events. They put the blame on the authorities for their alleged ‘wrong policy’ and site selection.

The Khelo India 10 Ka Dum women’s weightlifting event, which concluded on Sunday, was organised in a congested room at the SAI, Naharlagun. The organisers said they had no option other than holding the event there as there are no facilities.

The state can’t host big sports events mainly for want of necessary infrastructures. Whenever the state hosts a national-level event, it is organised either in a makeshift structure or in a community hall due of lack of infrastructure.

The athletes often rue lack of support from the government, financially. As most of the athletes come from middle class families, they can’t afford expenses to maintain healthy diets, as a well-balanced diet is a must for any athlete to optimise performance.

The athletes from Arunachal are consistently performing well in some selected sports, especially weightlifting, at the national level for many years. There are national champions from Arunachal in weightlifting and in some other individual sports, who can excel even at top level. The government can invest on them to see results.

Moreover, technological advancement has revolutionised modern-day sports, where state-of-the-art technologies are used to enhance performance. The authorities must think about it and take necessary measures, such as appointing qualified coaches and instructors to train and guide the players.

The state’s sports department and the Arunachal Olympic Association have great roles to play in grooming athletes. They must rise to the occasion, as suggested by the chief minister, to plan and roll out ‘Mission Olympics’, targeting the 2028 Olympic Games.

Otherwise, an Olympic medal will continue to elude all of us.