Published On : Tue, Aug 29th, 2017

Its National Sports Day! Ever heard of it?

Nagpur: I have a nephew, 8 years old. Today I recalled him telling its Valentine’s Day on 14th February a few weeks back. So I called him today and asked “Do you know what day is today?”“Tuesday”, he replied. The tiny tot, just like a major proportion of us, had no idea about existence of a day called ‘National Sports Day’.

Today, on 29th of August, is National Sports Day, celebrated on the Birth anniversary of India’s Hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand. Great that we recognize the efforts of India and World’s greatest ever hockey player, but what fraction of India remembers that we even have a Sports Day to celebrate?

The problem is deep rooted in the Indian psyche. Education and Sports are usually seen as two different entities working at cross purposes than as a part of growing up. Sports is not just training, it’s a culture that needs to be promoted. And there’s no better place to do it than at our schools that build India’s future.

Speaking of the Orange city, the position of sports remains above average, if not outstanding. Nagpur Today had a conversation with a few Sports persons of Nagpur who have not only brought an esteem to the city at a National but, on an International platform as well.

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Dhanasree Lekurwale, a representative in Yoga as Sports at International level has won 16 medals in Asian and Yoga World Sports Championship which makes her the first and only girl of Maharashtra to have reached this level.

A young girl with a voice full of excitement as well as determination states her journey so far.

Representing the country for past several years, she states that although, the origin of Yoga is linked to India, it gained popularity in our own country after it was started to be practiced in other countries.

Lekurwale also narrates how her event has changed since she started participating 15 years back. As she states, along with her, even the sport has come a long way and undergone several changes.

Since she was a little child, she used to watch her mother do yoga with a glitter in her eyes. It is no wonder that she, too, joined it. However, she states that the position of sports in India is in agony.

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Nikhilesh Niranjan Tabhane, India’s fastest speed skater, also talks about the position of sports in city and in country. “Nagpur is the city where the India’s first International Level skating track was built in 2001 which helped in emergence of many national and international players. But now there’s no proper system to run the facility. Neither the players nor experts are given opportunity to use this facility”, he informed in a face-to-face.“Talking about skating, the level has extremely gone down as no efforts are being taken from Nagpur association to uplift the standard. Also, I think it’s high time for NMC to start scholarship programs for the meritorious sportspeople according to their level of achievements”, he added. Disappointed with the position of sports he claims that only a limited number of states in the nation like Haryana and Punjab promote sports the way they should be. He also claims that although, Maharashtra is a vast state and has given several sports stars, there still lies a scope of improvement.

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“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” is what he has been believing and acting upon his entire life. Faiz Fazal, an Indian cricketer who plays for the Vidarbha cricket team and Ainsdale Cricket Club has also played for Indian cricket team.

“Cricket has been the biggest in the country but now as u can see that there are many leagues of other sports inspired by the IPL are already there so it has been a really big boost for the sports like hockey, badminton, soccer and kabaddi. So it’s really great to see”, he said comparing other sports with cricket.

He also claims that position of sports in growing and that more and more parents need to support their children to choose it as a career.

These are just a few of the several the city has produced. The city of Nagpur has given several gems in the field of several sports. However, the fact cannot be denied that not only in city but on a National level as well, the position of sports needs to be augmented so that next time you ask an 8 year old on 29th August, he knows that it is not just a Tuesday or a Wednesday.

—Aditi Mishra