The SLPC Policy Brief 2016
We are pleased to present to you the first edition of the Sports Law and Policy Centre’s Policy Brief titled, “Lessons for India from the Rio Olympics and Paralympics Performances”. We launched this on December 16, 2016 in association with, our partners, the GoSports Foundation at the Tandem Allied Sports Awards Nite. Kidambi Srikanth, Devendra Jhajharia, John Gloster and Nandan Kamath unveiled the first copies of the brief.
Why do we need this Policy Brief?
We are all aware that Indian sport and especially Indian Olympic and Paralympic sport needs an overhaul if we are serious about giving our athletes the best chance to win more medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As a first step in this direction, we think it is necessary for us as a country to reflect and ask the right questions, set up a talent policy framework and then build programmes around it. This Policy Brief has been prepared with inputs from Abhinav Bindra and includes an editorial by him.
To aid in this process we have compiled and organised excerpts from a variety of sources that analyse the reason for India’s below par performance and raise questions on a way forward. The information has been classified into 7 (seven) broad sections – Olympics performance evaluation, Financial planning and utilisation, Athlete management, Sports governance and integrity, Women in Indian sport, Challenges for Paralympians and the Way forward for India. We have also looked at past experiences and emerging reactions of other countries to provide a 360 degree perspective and set the stage for change. At the end of each chapter, we have raised questions in the ‘Points to Ponder’ section to serve as guiding tool while framing policies for various aspects of Indian sport.
Who will find this useful?
While this Policy Brief is targeted at policy makers, federation heads and key officers in the government, we hope it will serve as a useful reference guide to just about anyone interested in Indian sport and talent policy.
While preparing this policy document we have found there is no set path to success. All the countries with the largest medal hauls at Rio have had their own unique paths and approaches. For example, when it comes to athlete funding, while the UK invests heavily in each athlete many US athletes were required to fund themselves or crowd fund their way to Rio. While some countries choose to invest heavily on medal potential sports, others such as China launched ‘Project 119’ after the Sydney Olympics to focus on the 119 gold medals available in sports China had not traditionally excelled in. While Ukraine produced its worst ever Olympic performance at the Olympic Games in Rio, it finished 3rd at the Paralympic Games. This is due to a sustained effort over the years involving heavy investment in promoting disability sports and creating the ‘National Ukraina Center’ solely for the purpose of training the Ukrainian Paralympic team.
Athletes will be successful when they have a supportive system in place to facilitate their progress. It is never too early to build these systems in India. We believe that the first step is to deconstruct the performances and ask the right questions. This is what this Policy Brief aims to do.