Sport

Western model impractical, says Gopi Chand

Coachspeak: P. Gopi Chand feels that children should be encouraged to play sports as it makes them smarter.

Coachspeak: P. Gopi Chand feels that children should be encouraged to play sports as it makes them smarter.   | Photo Credit: V_V_SUBRAHMANYAM

Says need to promote sports which are fundamentally Indian

Chief National badminton coach P. Gopi Chand said it was not sensible to follow the Western model blindly to produce world-beaters and Olympic champions.

Speaking at a webinar conducted by SAI-LNCPE on Thursday, Gopi said the Western model was expensive and impractical in a country like India. The former All-England champion said there was a need to promote sports which are fundamentally Indian.

“In the Western model you need to spend around $10,000 each year on an athlete which is phenomenally expensive. For example you can’t build indoor stadiums everywhere for the kids to play basketball or 50m pools for the kids to learn swimming. “But we can do a lot by promoting local sports and our culture. I feel sports like wrestling, hockey, yoga, kho kho and tennikoit which are fundamentally imbibed in our culture should be given preference over others,” he said.

Gopi stressed the importance of physical literacy and said sports and physical activities definitely made children smarter. He also added that physical education (PE) teachers played a huge role in grassroots development and there was a need to recognise their efforts.

“We should shift our thinking from winning medals to beyond medals. I must confess I also thought sports was all about winning until one incident during a coaching camp in 2015 changed my perspective. It was only then I realised the importance of physical literacy.

“We should encourage children to play sports as it makes them smarter. Unstructured sports are important for a child’s development.

“The little games we play in our backyard give us early lessons about leadership, adaptability and competition. Those who hate sports are the ones who were forced to leave sports early.

“I think the role of the PE teacher at the grassroots level is very important. They are the ones who make the children love or hate sports. And like others, the PE teachers should be recognised for their efforts,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 12:49:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/western-model-impractical-says-gopi-chand/article31918062.ece

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