After India got independence, in 50s and 60s, despite bad economic conditions, India could produce fairly good teams and athletes like Milkha Singh, Dhyan Chand etc. Indian football team reached semi-finals of FIFA world Cup and Hockey Team was world Champion. However, there was a downfall after that and India’s performance in international competitions saw a continuous dip. As India progressed into modernizing and liberalizing economy there were avenues opening in other fields and there were no long term career prospects in sports. Sports which was to do with individual zeal and leveraging Govt. policies provided special perks, resources and quotas for sports persons but no aspiration led career. Thus, sports took a backseat and became a last resort for spoilt kids who were good for nothing. Parents did not support their child’s aspiration to become sportspersons; physical education was looked down upon as the stream of education by the society. Sports related businesses were considered non lucrative. Sports persons were not considered eligible for elite jobs. Reason being sports in India was always coach centric. Coach besides coaching is also a manager, administrator, strategist, nutritionist, psychologist, in addition to critical role of coaching which obviously showed in the competitions where Indian athletes could not excel. Whereas world over other experts like psychologist, physiotherapist, nutritionist were working as a team of individuals focused on helping the athlete excel in chosen sporting field and also provided aspiration led and sought after career opportunities. Off late, with changing socio economic scenario, rising middle class and realization of importance of sports in education, catalyzed better performances and increased acceptance of sports in society. Parents realized importance of sports. Besides, Indian sports started working on its governance and management. Also rising awareness coupled with international exposure, athletes started demanding experts which were then hired from abroad and it was realized that India needs experts for sports and allied fields to reach excellence.
Excerpts from the Workshop on Youth and Sports Development in the North Eastern Region on 4 February 2011 chaired by Then Hon’ble Minister (Youth Affairs & Sports) Govt. of India at FICCI
………………there is a need to give adequate importance to Skill Development and Training Program. He informed that under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, the National Council of Skill Development has been set up as an apex institution for policy direction and review. Further a National Skill Development Board has been set up under the Chairmanship of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. ……………It was decided that FICCI in association with National Skill Development Council shall set up a sector-specific skills council for sports. As a result FICCI began with human resource demand and supply analysis of sports sector in India: • Where is the maximum demand supply Gap in sports, in terms of human resource? i.e which are the priority sectors within the sports ecosystem. • Where is the maximum employment potential in Sports? • We took 16 Olympics Sports.
FICCI-Tanjun Associate Study on Sports as a Full Time Career, Oct 2011