New thinking needed for sports development in India, says Ramachandran

In terms of sports infrastructure development in the country, N. Ramachandran wants private sector firms to infuse a sense of direction.

N. Ramachandran along with other guests at the CII Tamil Nadu Fitness & Sports Summit 2020 in Chennai.   -  Special Arrangement

Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) patron and former Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N. Ramachandran attributed Squash's emergence in India to the Indian Squash Academy (ISA), speaking in the CII Tamil Nadu Fitness & Sports Summit 2020 at the Taj Coromandel here on Tuesday.

"Squash was getting hardly mentioned in the newspapers twenty years ago. The ISA proved to be the catalyst for its emergence in the last two decades. Indian squash today only awaits a World champion!" he said.

He added that a country like Malaysia has been able to produce a world champion like Nicol David, who was the World No. 1 for nine straight years, since it "invests five million dollars" in the sport "every year".

"India invests around ₹1-1.5 crore."

Referring to China's extensive sports infrastructure, he said the private firms could help realise it in India. "Sports infrastructure is there everywhere in China; in every nook and corner. This (infrastructure) is where private sector firms could infuse a sense of direction, perhaps some inspiration."

He added that the National/State sports governing bodies should be held responsible if the sportspersons don't perform. "It might be controversial, but it's my view. If you (governing bodies) take money from the sponsors, you should be held accountable," he added.

"When I was the IOA president, the maximum problems we faced were with the National sports federations that had leagues. They (the federation officials/members) fought among themselves," he said.

He added that "the need of the hour is new thinking" for sports development in the country. Conventional thinking and age-old mechanisms are to be done away with, he said.

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