A. B. SUDHINDRA

We have good infrastructure in place to support budding sports people.

It is the season of annual athletic meets at city schools. A spectacular splash of colour and activity mark the events and the day witnesses breaking of old meet records. Children participate with enthusiasm and energy in many events. And when they emerge winners, it is a happy sight to see them walking towards the victory podium. But would the sports activities end with this? Or do children have the will to pursue sports as a career? "Many schools conduct only sports day or athletic meet. The school managements hesitate to send their children to other sports meets. Even the parents are not keen and they expect their children to excel only in academics. Hence, many children do not pursue sports as a career," says P. N. Balaram, a physical education teacher. However, some schools direct their efforts to provide facilities for learning games and sports for students. They have well-organised centres manned by experienced professional coaches. "We have good infrastructure in place. We send our children to interschool meets and subsequently to the state and national level sports meets. Children enjoy participating in such events and it gives a good exposure," says Rani Rajkumar, Principal, St. John's High School. Many agree that sports activities help in the all-round development of a child. They also say that talented children need support and encouragement not only from schools but also from parents.

Aid development

"A tree grows well when it is given proper nutrition, but giving nutrition to a plot of soil without a seed beneath it does not make a tree. The same is the case with creativity and talent. How do you expect children to excel in sports, when some schools do not allow them to play during physical education (PE) periods," questions a teacher. Many opine that besides academics, schools must give due importance to co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. "A school must facilitate the all-round development of a child, providing opportunities to bring out innate talent, grooming and polishing it, subjecting them to intensive training, thus creating stars that shine bright in every field," says Ms. Rani. Sports activities facilitate leadership qualities in children and they learn to accept both success and failure in equal measure, she adds.