Advani: 'Sports policy should revolve around athletes'

The Supreme Court order on the BCCI and the Indian Olympic Association’s controversial move to appoint Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala, who are facing corruption charges, have triggered the demand for transparency and good governance in sports bodies.

Advani, who won his 11th World billiards crown last month, said India had a long way to go to be like China, Australia and America in sports.   -  S.R. Raghunath

In the backdrop of the Supreme Court tightening the noose around the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) to implement Lodha Committee reforms and the demand for revision in the National Sports Code for other sports bodies, 16-time World champion cueist Pankaj Advani said sports organisations should be athlete-centric to produce champions on a regular basis.

The Supreme Court order on the BCCI and the Indian Olympic Association’s controversial move to appoint Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala, who are facing corruption charges, have triggered the demand for transparency and good governance in sports bodies.

Particularly in the context of the BCCI, Advani said even though he could not comment on what happened with the cricket body he would like the “sports policy” to revolve around athletes. “Until then don’t expect anything…We will have champions coming out because of their own motivation, effort, own support staff etc. But champions coming out of the system as part of a structured policy, don’t expect that,” said Advani, who was here to take part in the Kolkata Open snooker championship.

Advani, who won his 11th World billiards crown last month, said India had a long way to go to be like China, Australia and America in sports.

He said in India sporting excellence was measured on the basis of performances in quadrennial events, such as the Olympics and the Asian Games. “Sport is about consistency… Ask Roger Federer and he would say Wimbledon over Olympics… Celebration of a person finishing fourth or winning a brozne in the Olympics is much more than a multiple World title or someone who has won a medal no one else has.

“I definitely feel there is a big difference in the way we celebrate achievements in quadrennial events compared to those in year in and year out. I am not complaining. This is our perception. If we have to change our perception, we have to look at sport from a different angle.”