India’s best medal crop ever at the Olympics – including Neeraj Chopra’s historic gold – has breathed new energy into the prospects for sports other than cricket in the country and more parents are now ready to help their child choose a career in a sport other than the gentleman’s game, according to a LocalCircles survey.
The survey, which was conducted to understand sentiment after the stellar performance of the Indian contingent, included nearly 18,000 respondents residing in 309 districts across the country (42 percent of respondents from level I districts, 29 percent from level III and 29 percent from levels III, IV and rural districts).
About 51% of those polled said they had closely followed India’s performance at the Tokyo Olympics, while 47% said they did not.
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“This appears to be a significant increase from 2016, where a similar LocalCircles survey indicated that less than 20% of Indians were following India’s performance at the Olympics,” LocalCircles said.
For a crazy cricketing nation like India, other sports tend to get recognition only at sporting events such as the Olympics. Additionally, there are only a handful of world class athletic institutions or training schools across the country that train athletes, other than cricket.
Historically, most middle-class parents have been reluctant to help their children play sports outside of cricket as a career, believing that they lack regular income and long-term financial stability.
However, figures like Rani Rampal (captain of the Indian women’s hockey team) have inspired thousands of young girls to take an interest in the sport while Haryana’s athletes, including gold medalist Chopra, seem to have energized the entire state.
Cash prizes and corporate and government gifts also poured in. “All of this is linked to influencing young people and their parents to play sports as a career … Tokyo Olympics seems to have breathed new and fresh energy into the prospects for non-cricket sports in India,” said LocalCircles.
The majority of 71% of Indian parents surveyed said they would support them if their child chose a sport other than cricket as a career. About 19 percent said they would not support their child to play sports for a career, while 10 percent had no opinion.
“Again, this is a drastic increase from the results of the 2016 survey, where around 40% of parents said they would help their child to start a sports career outside of cricket,” indicates the report.
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LocalCircles noted that the Tokyo Olympics marked a dramatic change in the level of Indian interest in sports other than cricket.
“The need at the moment is for central government and state governments to find ways to create new infrastructure to promote sport and to find ways so that existing infrastructure can be maintained and made available effectively to people with potential. .
This, combined with the deployment of CSR funds in sports development, could greatly contribute to the development of many high quality Indian sports stars for Paris 2024, ”he added.
Chopra made history by winning the country’s first-ever gold in the javelin throw at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He made a second-round throw of 87.58 meters in the Tokyo Games final for winning the country’s first athletics medal and becoming only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics.
India recorded its best medal tally at the Olympics with seven medals, including two silver and four bronze. In this Tokyo 2020, Bajrang Punia (bronze), Mirabai Chanu (silver), PV Sindhu (bronze), Lovlina Borgohain (bronze), men’s hockey team (bronze) and Ravi Kumar Dahiya (silver) won medals for the India.