DC Edit | Sports bodies must do better

Our athletes’ national marks are beginning to look good enough for winning medals in international events

The Indian sports scene is bubbling over with the enthusiastic performances of athletes and players across disciplines. The Commonwealth Games haul of medals was not only a collective display of competitive medal-winning performances but also suggestive of immense possibilities. The chess players have been brilliant, most of all the prodigy R. Praggnanandhaa who has beaten the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen thrice this year in rapid games.

Our athletes’ national marks are beginning to look good enough for winning medals in international events. There is a yearning in men and women cricketers to expand their winning ways to include cups in multilateral events. At such a time, sports administrations must respond by not only being clean but also by being seen to be clean.

For administering sport by the rule book and to be compliant with India’s own sports code, all sports associations and federations should be properly elected as per their Constitution. In this context, the Supreme Court’s directions to disband the Committee of Administrators, which it had appointed to run the country’s soccer and hold fresh elections, shows a way forward.

In the case of the Indian Olympic Association too, the top court has asked the CoA which should have taken over as per Delhi high court directions not to run the administration as it may not be compliant with the IOC code. Administration by a CoA is an ad-hoc solution to the numerous problems that Indian sports administrators create with their obsession with hanging on for years to their spheres of influence.

Cricket, India’s most successfully administered sport, is run top down but that federation has oodles of money to do so and even defies court orders and codes to keep key officials in power beyond their terms.

The problem with most other sports administrations is that state associations are dormant. But, in the era of pro sport, the federations should be able to generate sufficient money to run sports nationally.

If they do so by the book, then athletes might flourish, perhaps even more than presently when they are performing despite the hurdles created by unprofessional administration.

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