Gopichand calls for promotion of local sports and culture

Chief national badminton coach P. Gopichand feels sports like wrestling, hockey, kho kho that are imbibed in Indian culture should be given preference.

Gopichand stressed on the importance of physical literacy and how it made the kids smarter at a webinar on Thursday.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said it was not sensible to follow the western model blindly to produce world beaters and Olympic champions. Speaking at a webinar conducted by SAI-LNCPE on Thursday, Gopichand said the Western model was expensive and impractical in a country like India.

The former All-England champion said there was a need to promote sports which are fundamentally Indian. "In the western model you need to spend around $10,000 each year on an athlete which is phenomenally expensive. For example, you can't build indoor stadiums everywhere for the kids to play basketball or 50m pools for them to learn swimming. But we can do a lot by promoting local sports and our culture.

"I feel sports like wrestling, hockey, yoga, kho kho and tennikoit which are fundamentally imbibed in our culture should be given a preference over others," he said.

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Gopichand stressed on the importance of physical literacy and how it made the kids smarter. He also added that physical education teachers played a huge role in grassroot development and there was a need to recognise the effort. "We should shift our thinking from winning medals to beyond medals. I must confess I also thought, sports was all about winning until one incident during a coaching camp in 2015 changed my perspective. It was only then I realised the importance of physical literacy. We should encourage children to play sports as it makes them smarter. Unstructured sports is important for a child's development. The little games we play in our backyard gives us early lessons about leadership, adaptability and competition. Those who hate sports are the ones who were forced to leave sports early. So I think the role of the PE teacher at grassroot level is very important. They are the ones who make the children love or hate sports,'' he said.

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