Pullela Gopichand wants a law to separate sport from Politicians and Bureaucrats

Pullela Gopichand

One of the most influential sporting personalities in India, Pullela Gopichand, on Sunday, insisted on the fact there is a need for legislation to free sports from politicians and bureaucrats in the country. Gopichand, the Chief National coach for the Indian badminton team, was among the keynote speakers on the first day of Tv9 Network’s Global Summit – ‘What India Thinks Today’, in New Delhi.

Pullela Gopichand voiced his opinion on streamlining the processes

Pullela Gopichand has seen a lot as a Coach for the National team at global events. Recently he was also involved with the Women’s team, which won the historic Badminton Asia Championship. With his tons of experience and involvement close to the administration level, Gopichand pointed out the importance of separating the sport from Politics.

“One legislation, I would love to see is the government saying that we (sportspersons) are not under bureaucrats, sports administration is not under politicians. But sports are managed by professionals and people who know stuff and who are sportspersons. That, from a legislation point I would want to see,” Gopichand said.

He also called upon the government and other stakeholders to streamline the processes so that an athlete could just concentrate on his training and performance without having to bother about other issues.

“From policymakers, there are two important things. For performance, there are too many people involved, there are the (sports) associations, government, private parties, and managers; there’s a whole ecosystem,” he said.

“So, I think that needs to be streamlined. Because on one side is the corporate and marketing side, the entire ecosystem of very different things. But performance is a purely different ball game,” added the 50-year-old.

“It needs a set of people who are committed, whether it’s players, coaches, and support staff, and an ecosystem which builds performance. We need to keep that isolated from the rest of it. So, I would say ‘Boss get this done for us (athletes)’,” he added.

Pullela Gopichand points out the importance of Education for Sportspersons

While Gopichand was happy with the phenomenal success and growth of sports in the country, he also pointed out the flip side of it, saying that kids could be leaving education for better prospects in sports.

“We have grown too fast as a country in sport, we are still pushing forward in big force and that is amazing. But, I think, we need to look at the entire ecosystem because all it takes is one generation of failed sportspersons to show to society, or society will see it and say, ‘There is no use playing sports’. I don’t want that to happen,” he said.

“What is also happening is that kids, players are taking up sport (and) leaving education. For some, it’s happening at nine (years of age) and that is a big case of concern. Because, at the end of the day, the sport has a very thin margin of people. We have people speaking about how there are 6,000 kids across various sports who are given ₹6 lakh or ₹3 lakh a month (year from the government),” he added.

He wondered what would happen to the “5,600 people who don’t make it (to the top)”. “Where are they going for their jobs? Are they skilled enough for their next journey?” he asked.

“Thousands of people take up sport and a very small percentage is successful. What happens to the huge number who don’t make it? How are we going to ensure their lives are secure?”

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