The prestigious Padma Shree Award( Country’s 4th Highest Civilian Award) was awarded on 22nd March, Tuesday to Ace Badminton Player Kidambi Srikanth and Multiple Tennis title clincher Somdev Devvarman in New Delhi by President Ramnath Kovind.
This definitely brings the spotlight on the racket sports in the Indian Sports Scene which is mostly dominated by Cricket followed by Football (mostly post-emergence of the ISL).
Also, Badminton being in the news recently only due to the emergence of the victorious PV Sindhu and previously Saina Nehwal and hence it makes of more pride of our Badminton wagon.
Similar ollows for the Tennis scene in India. With hardly anyone being recognised other than Leander Paes and Sania Mirza. This gives the young generation a huge boost.
Kidambi Shrikant is currently ranked No.2 according to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Rankings.
He also won the 2018 TOISA Sports Person of the Year.
According to leading Sports Analysts, he is the future Olympic Champion Shuttler, which is by itself a huge prediction since the victory of Nehwal in the Olympic circuit for the country.
He is the leading Indian player in the Men’s arena after the victory of the four Super Series titles and six titles at the French Open, Denmark Open, Australian Open, Indian Open, Indonesian Open, China Open.
India’s first Paralympic Gold Medallist, Murlikant Petkar was the third athlete to be awarded in this manner. He reached the finals of the events of Javelin, precision javelin and 50m freestyle swimming event.
This is again a tremendous feat achieved by our young guns and an incredible achievement for the above-mentioned sports since previously most of the cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and the like have been bestowed with the honour of either the Padma Shri or the Padma Bhushan Award.
I personally know so many youngsters in the country who are playing various sports and winning titles in the National and International Games.
However, most of them either don’t pursue the sport further in life due to lack of support from the country or flee the country and practice and play abroad due to so much more facilities and opportunities.
With these kind of awards and recognition given to youngsters with the sheer urge to excel and make their country proud.
This also in a way urges more children to take up sports as a career from early stages in their lives, unlike more developed countries.
More can be done in terms of fund allotment and setting up of professional selection centres in various parts of the country.
Also immense training and awareness is required to develop more referees, coaches and line umpires in these sports.
Madhumita Bisht is one of the few women coaches in Badminton. Another important area to be worked on is definitely during the school and college training and selection procedures directly into the state teams so that it can be catered to right from the beginning of their careers.Published 21 Mar 2018, 04:20 IST