Former Indian hockey team captain V. Baskaran, who had led India to its last Olympic gold medal in hockey in the 1980 Moscow edition, on Tuesday, highlighted the importance of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model in the development of sports.

"The government is only a policy-making decision. They have to do it, they are doing it. They can't go beyond that. They can't win any Olympics. But a private partnership, yes, they can win.

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"They can promote sports in a big way if they go to rural areas. The rural area is an important base for Indian sports. India has the best talent available," Baskaran said during a panel discussion titled  Private-Public Partnerships for Promotion of Sports  at Sportstar's South Sports Conclave in Chennai. The discussion was moderated by L.V. Navaneeth, Chief Executive Officer, The Hindu Group.

Expanding impact

Meanwhile, Saumil Majmudar, founder of Edusports, spoke about the need to expand the gambit of the PPP model. "Promotion of sports to me means promotion of sports, not promotion of winning medals. There is a big distinction between the promotion of sports and winning medals," he said. "The winning of medals has completely overshadowed the promotion of sports. The PPP model is the government saying that there are certain public goods I have to provide but do not have the time, money or expertise to provide, dear Mr Private, please come, let's partner. But that PPP should be for the larger public. Not only for a very small percentage of elite athletes. Currently, all the discussion is about the elite athletes."

Focus on school

Ankur Jain, Managing Partner, FIIT JEE, highlighted the importance of schools in the overall development of an athlete. "There was a time when everything was left to the government. National security, job creation, sport facility creation are all left to the government. School has to take the responsibility when it comes to sports, like it does for building careers in academics," he said.

Aman Shah, Head of Partnerships, JSW Olympic Programme gave his insights as well: "The change in sporting culture has to happen at the base of the pyramid. It has to be top-down as well as bottom-up. A lot of the attention right now is at the top and our organisation is on top of that so I take that at face value."