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Survey of sports literacy

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Sports literacy survey affirms missing sporting culture in India

India is a country of more than a billion people still it is lagging behind in medal tallies at international sporting events and we put our head down in shame. So far sporting communities joke on the Indian sporting culture, where passivism towards sports is reflected in every sporting event. Though few sports are silver lining in otherwise dried up medal tally and only the holistic approach could be way forward. But the million dollar question is ……. if we are really literate in terms of sports? Sports: A Way of Life, NGO tried to understand this issue in detail before fine tuning its' strategies for future endeavour to promote and imbibe a sporting culture in India. A team of surveyors were engaged to find answers to the question raised above. For this purpose, our team of surveyors which were divided into eight groups and were deployed to interact with people at Delhi Railway Station with people heading to various states from this station to get a composite view of sports literacy among all groups viz. males-females, young-old and juveniles, state to state, villagers and people from tier 2 and 3 cities to metropolitan cities, public schools to government schools etc. we choose trains heading towards Jammu and Kashmir, Kanyakumari, West Bengal, Bihar, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and North East States. These questions were simple and framed keeping in mind to gauge  the level of sports awareness.Results were shocking, pointing to very poor sports literacy. The summary of this survey is as follows………………….


More than 65 years













35 – 64













20 – 34













10 – 19













0 – 9


























Exceptions of this survey:

1.  Number of professional players who stick to the rules of the game, is fairly low.

2.  Sports literacy associated with Athletics / Olympics is also low  as the survey reports reflected that knowledge about sports like cricket, football, badminton etc. are effective and better in these figures.

3.  People of all age groups were included in the survey because the trend is most important in improving sports literacy in our country. Children and young people grow under the shadow of their parents. If the elder, have an interest in games, then they can encourage their children to play sports.


Now I want to draw your attention towards the general conclusions of the survey:-

1.  Only 5.21 percent of the total population were/are aware of sports. Only 1.31 percent of the female population has some inclination towards sports. We will now try to see the indifference towards the sports among women population by linking them with Olympic events. More than 450 medals are there in the Olympic Games for women. But we have only selected few names in this category that reflect our backwardness and indifferent attitude of female population.

2.  Only 3.27 percent of the total population is conscious/aware of sports when such a low number of people have interest out of such vast population, we can easily understand the reason of lagging behind in medal tally.

3.  The Sports Authority of India, which is responsible for promoting sports spotting talents and nurturing them, even here there has been no plan to create an interest in sports among children between 1 to 8 years or encourage sports among them. S.A.I. whatever the schemes are there, these are for children above 8 years of age. For the first 8 years, there is no plan in place to encourage children to participate in sports. It is the biggest reason of backwardness in sports and treating sports as religion. The responsibility of promoting the game in the country cannot rest only with the government's efforts rather we have to move ahead by fixing responsibilities for everyone with a long-term policy.


So the survey conclusively establishes that there has/had been no positive thinking about the game in our country which this NGO calls it Sports illiteracy.

Our NGO wants the games to be elevated to the level of religion and it has a plan to run a campaign for sports literacy. The NGO has taken the mission in its hand. The Sports: A way of life, an NGO has its first primary goal to encourage and improve sports literacy in India.


What is the sports literacy concept?

1. To end the negative thinking about sports.

2.  Promote positive thinking about sports.

3.  To encourage and arouse interest in sports especially among children and maintain the interest and sustain it continuously.

4. Each child should be attached to at least one game.

5. The game is not limited to winning medals only but it is also useful for physical, mental health.

6. Develop an understanding about sports values as to how it can help us in dealing with social problems.


How to increase the sports literacy

1. As the parents are always interested in providing knowledge of the alphabet and numeric knowledge from the early age of 1 or 2 years to their kids, in the same way they should be encouraged to create interest in sports.

2. Our first target will be the guardians of these adolescents and kids. Once parents start the program to increase the attractiveness of elementary schools in primary schools.

3. The next targeted group will be primary schools where sports literary missions will be carried out.

4. In the Gurukul system of our country, education and sports were included at the elementary level. In the Ashram of Sandipani Rishi, Shri Krishna the God had done schooling as well as participated in various sports. In the ashram of Maharishi Vashishta, Lord Rama and his brothers also gained eloquence in both academic learning and sports. In the Ashram of Maharishi Valmiki, Lord Rama's son Luv-Kush received mastery in the Dharnudhari Vidya and Horse riding. In the Mahabharata period, the Kauravas and Pandavas learnt the art of Mallayudh, Gada and Dharnudhari simultaneously with the classical knowledge in the ashram of Guru Dronacharya. There was no provision for any sports hostel at that time. Therefore, according to this tradition we have to develop our primary schools as center sports as well as study.

5. In primary schools, it is necessary to make sports a part of the main curriculum instead of the rest of the school.

6. We will have to make arrangements for sports infrastructure at school level with the help of government and private sectors.

7. By targeting primary schools, "we will have a large number of sports enthusiasts who will be interested in sports", and later we can provide special training and prepare them as future players.

8. The sports talent promotion schemes start only after 8 years of age. At 8-years old, we can make these children sports enthusiasts and make the work of S.A.I a little easier.

9. In order to increase sports literacy, we have to encourage those games in particular, which are part of the Olympic Games from primary school level. In our country, we can  find rich people who are ready to invest on their ward and allow them to participate in games like football, cricket, tennis, badminton and golf and billiards,  but there are hardly person from richer community, who normally encourage their wards to participate in games like wrestling, long jump athletic etc. As part of our literacy mission, for our children, we will keep on sharing and imparting training related to athletics.  Every school, whether it is government or primary school or convent – it is essential for every child to participate in athletics. Thus the talent pool will be developed for athletic events, while the gap between rich sports and poor sports will be filled up permanently.

10. The age of 1 to 9 years is very important as this is the time when interest in particular sports sprouts in individuals. For sports, this is the age when foundation is laid down. The age of 9 to 16 years is to build the structure on this foundation and this is the time when professional guidance and hard labour has to be put in to find encouraging results. In the game life, the age of 17 to 30 year is the most crucial one as it is the time to reap the benefit of the rigorous training and labour being put in the past.  participants are actively participating in competitions/tournaments at this age. When the player is more than 30 years of age, the game life is heading towards an end. But the players who are trained, would be able to keep their sports life smooth by making them shelves aware of the nuances of game values and by taking the task of encouraging the school students and teaching them about these game values. Players can also keep their sports life safer by training budding and adolescent sports children. In this way, those who have retired from active participation in games can contribute heavily in promoting sports literacy in the country.


After all, why will parents be motivated?

1. Parents will have to understand that if they are encouraging and allowing their wards to participate in various games, it is not solely with the motive to win a medal. There is definitely a limitation of getting into state and national teams to represent a particular game, still if there is a talent, then he should be encouraged till the end.

2. The child will be physically healthy by playing a game.

3. The child's mental health also improves with participation in sports; it has been proved through various researches

4. Let the guardian be made aware of sports value. No effort so far has been made to let the people know the importance of sports value and neither effort has been made to draw their attention. No policy has ever taken these aspects into consideration. "Play India Campaign" has been started by the Central Government, but its results have not been encouraging so far and it can happen only when the attitude of parents towards the game is changed and they start allowing their wards to play various games. India will play only when sports literacy improves in every nook and corner of the country. India will play only when parents will allow the childen to play various games.

There is a proposal to appeal to parents to increase sports literacy.  There is a competitive society today and whatever goal you set for your child, your child has to pass through hard labour and stiff competition. You give him the target of becoming an engineer, doctor, scholar, executive officer, but in the process what difficulties these kids have to pass through, most parents remain indifferent. The goal should be high for the child, but in the race to achieve that goal, your child should not break down, you should be careful about it. Today, we have examples where children are unable to withstand the pressure of the competition, and they are becoming depressed and committing suicide. Kota in Rajasthan is a living example of this, where every other day reports of suicide make headlines in media.

Does any one want his/her child to have a weak personality, who does not have the ability to withstand the pressure, who breaks down under any pressure, are always indecisive, when meets up with failure, he falls under the bout of depression, falls sick, becomes mentally ill. If one wants his child to conquer the battle of life, then it is his responsibility that he sow the seeds of strong and aggressive character in them. Its solution lies with sports and imbibing sports value in them. Through all the research, it has been clarified that sports play an important role in the overall personality development of the individual. From sports  you learn honesty and integrity, fighting and team spirit, decision-making ability, discipline, equality, respect, satisfaction, tolerance and patience, initiative strength, collective effort, incentive for the weak, equality and brotherhood, emotional stability, honest evaluation, conversion of negative energy, emotion of responsibility, appropriate communication etc. can create game values.