In the wake of stupendous show of grit and determination by cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur in this women’s World Cup In England, with a whirlwind unbeaten knock of 171, which floored the defending champions Australia in the semi finals, everyone is talking about how a small town girl from Moga (Punjab) rose to such Himalayan heights. Even here in Sangli (Maharashtra) we have India lefthander opener Smirti Mandhana, who too has been doing wonders for the women cricketers by her deeds in the 2017 World Cup. And look at the Borivali girl opener stylish Punam Raut whose exploits nearly brought India the World Cup. No wonder the achievements of our women cricketers together with our world class shuttlers like Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, the stock of our sportswomen has undoubtedly gone up.
This shows that talent in the country is there but how to tap it, is the big question. It also indicates that unless parents give wholesome support to their children – especially girls, it will not be an easy task. The rise and rise of sportswomen like Harmanpreet, Smriti, Punam, Saina and Sindhu is a fine example of parents – both with resources and those without – go through various kinds of hardships to groom their children during the formative years – especially in sports.
But the bigger question that arises is how come majority of them come from small towns and villages. Why our metropolitian cities having the best of facilities fail to produce top class sportspersons. The answer perhaps lies in the lifestyle adopted by most of city dwellers, where parents don’t have enough time – for various reasons – to encourage their children to pursue sports earnestly. It is a common sight in city like Mumbai to see youngsters accompanied by their parents/wards, doing better than those left to fend for themselves in competitions/tournaments.
Another reason that has caused our children going haywire is the advent of electronic gadgets like Mobile/iphones etc. While these might proved to be boom to many, but these gadgets certainly proved to a bane for teenagers who are provided with such gadgets by their parents. For young minds, its totally a distraction. They waste their time in playing with them or endlessly talking with their friends etc most of the time. Their minds, especially those playing individual sport, are always on their phone even when they are practising/playing.
In Mumbai we have coaches aplenty in various games, say cricket, table tennis, badminton, tennis etc. But I wonder how many of them are serious or strict enough to control their trainees from misusing their playing time by busying themselves more with such gadgets instead of concentrating with the training.
In this respect, our national badminton coach Gopi Chand has set an example for others to follow. He has banned players from using mobiles etc while in training. Take the example of PV Sindhu and K. Srikanth, whom he just did not allow to use these gadgets during the training periods. And see the results – both Sindhu and Srikanth trained hard which brought them laurels for their hard work – Sindhu bagged silver in the Olympics and Srikanth has won a couple of world series titles. No wonder both are now ranked among top shuttlers in the world.
Another aspect that has come to notice is that present day teenagers even in company of other friends are so addicted to their phones that they spend more time talking on mobile than with those who are close to them. This even has resulted in their relationships being affected. Sooner these addicted youngsters realize that in the long run because of their such type of addiction they lose focus on their careers and in the process might lose their friends/well wishers too.
( Writer of this article R.K Bowrie is a well Known Sports Journalist)