Yuvraj Singh: Indian parents need to understand sports is just as important as studies
Yuvraj Singh said that more parents should encourage their children to play sportsYuvraj Singh: Indian parents need to understand sports is just as important as studiesIndia might be a cricket-crazy nation but by no means is it a nation with a robust sporting culture,” declared World Cup-winning cricketer Yuvraj Singh at an event in the capital recently. This sentiment formed the core of a panel discussion on ‘Building a Sustainable Ecosystem’ at The Sports Movement conference held recently at a city hotel. The cricketer was joined on the panel by Juan Pablo Ramirez-Miranda, Head of Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO.
The discussion focused on how a country like India can build a mainstream sporting culture and an environment where people understand the importance of sports and physical activity. Speaking about how change can only come when kids are encouraged to play sports at a young age, he said, “If you are a teacher, you tell the child to study. As a parent, if you are a doctor, you encourage your child to follow a similar stream. I think it’s very important for teachers and parents to understand that that sports is just as important as studies. It is important to encourage your child to play sport.”
The former Indian all-rounder shared an anecdote from his playing days to highlight how several talented players slip through the cracks in India due to lack of required infrastructural and family backing. He recounted, “There was this talented kid in my state team last year. I told him to go for physical training with a particular trainer. When I spoke to the trainer this year, he told me the kid did not train under him because he could not afford it. The training was Rs 500-600 a month. He didn’t talk to me about it, or else I would have funded it. It is heartbreaking that a lot of kids give up the sport despite being talented because they can’t afford the equipment or training or because their parents don’t back them.”
Juan Pablo Ramirez-Miranda emphasised on the need to carry the message of the importance of sports beyond the urban centres. “We have the power to control the narrative. We can focus – through communication, through our programmes, through everything we do – on promoting the key reason behind why sport is important. We understand the benefits of sports, but we have to carry that message at the grassroot level,” he said.