After the London Olympics there has been renewed interest in sports and games.

The 2012 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, saw the largest ever Indian Olympic delegation of 83 athletes, with 60 men and 23 women participating in 13 events. The Indians came home with six medals, making this the most successful Olympics, till date. With the headlines flashing news of our successful sportspersons, there has been an overall change in the outlook towards sports.

New trend

Sam Vasant Kumar, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation coach says, “we have seen many new faces on the various GHMC coaching grounds, ever since. It is heartening to see the high enthusiasm levels of children of various ages.” Apart from regular coaching classes in over 54 games in five different zones, the GHMC also organises summer and winter coaching camps for children from the ages of eight years and above.

There are several other neighbourhood sports centres that have more children dropping by on weekends and that is surely the first step towards becoming a sportsperson. Centres such as GHMC camps have been promising playgrounds for scouting sports talent.

In most cases the best of sportspersons drop out in Std. IX. Reason? They have to devote more time to their studies and with that their career in sports usually ends. “Till the age of 14 the number of sports persons in the academies is rather high,” says Mr Praveen Bhargava, the Joint Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Lawn Tennis Academy.

Fourteen year old, N. Kishore Kumar, a Std. IX student of Sister Nivedita School and a national level skating champion, feels academics and sports can be managed easily. “Pay attention in class, work hard in both sports and studies and you can do well in both fields. If the interest is sustained and one is willing to work hard and do well, every sportsperson’s parents and school authorities will give them lots of support.” Kishore hopes to represent India in the Olympics someday.

“Today a career in sports is a good option for a hard working sports person. Sports has become very rewarding and it may be worthwhile for Indian parents and children to look at it for a good future,” says P. Gopichand, the Indian Badminton coach and mentor to the many badminton stars from the country.

Inspired

“Don’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get,” said Michael Phelps, multiple Olympic gold medallist.

The London Olympics has served as a source of inspiration for many. Mira, a Std. XI student finds Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal inspiring. She says, “I found Mary Kom a woman of grit. She’s a mother and a sportsperson. She fought many odds to reach the Olympics and has made India proud. Saina Nehwal was a consistent player too. I like the fact that she never gave up.”Inspired by such great athletes, children are actively participating in the games period at school. Nidhi Mehra, a Std. IX student of Sri Aurobindo International School, Hyderabad says, “We have games period every week in our school. We play games like throw ball, basket ball and dodge ball. I have taken to these games with renewed vigour after watching the various games held as part of the London Olympics.”“Parents must aspire for their children to become sportspersons, just as they’d want them to become doctors or engineers. The parents and teachers have a great role to play in promoting sports in schools. The talents and interests of the child should be identified and nurtured,” explains Ms. Anita Gupta of Sherwood Public School, Hyderabad.

SUSHMA KARRA