Infra ready, but are our sportpersons prepared for National Games?


 Goa is all set to host the 37th National Games later this year, for which infrastructure worth crores of rupees has been developed. While on the one hand, hundreds of crores of rupees are spent on hosting just one event, the training of our sportspersons has been neglected. 

Sports associations in the state have reportedly failed to prepare teams for the National Games, despite being aware eight years ago that Goa would be hosting the Games. Department of Sports & Youth Affairs and the Sports Authority of Goa will organise an event for The ‘Logo Launch’ ceremony of the 37th National Games, Goa 2023 is taking place today May 14, 2023 at 6:15 pm at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium. 

The date of the 37th National Games will be decided to keep in view the dates of the 19th Asian Games, which will be held from September 23 to October 8 in Hangzhou, China. In recent times, the host states of National Games have consistently featured in the top 5 in the overall medal tally. 

As per statistics, Kerala had become the Champions when it hosted the event in 1987. The 1997 National Games was hosted by Karnataka and they won the largest number of medals. Manipur, which had finished 9th in the 1997 National Games, became the overall champions when they hosted the event two years later. 

In 2001, hosts Punjab became the champions.  Andhra Pradesh which had won only 11 Gold Medals in 2001 went on to become the Champions when they hosted it in 2002 winning a whopping 94 Gold Medals overall.  There is no guarantee that Goa could secure more than the five bronze medals obtained in the last Games held in Gujarat wherein the State finished a dismal 30th. 

Goa’s sports minister reportedly owned up responsibility for Goa’s poor performance at the 36th National Games. On the medal front, no State Association has come on record about the medal prospects. The Government has been planning to host the Games since 2018. There was enough time to galvanise the sportspersons to raise their performance in a systematic and scientific manner. 

It is exactly the lack of proper planning from the part of the Department which could lead to a dismal performance by the Goa team.  Can Goa, as hosts, raise its performance to a higher level, climbing up at least some rungs up the ladder as it has the home advantage? 

Can we count among the top ten? It seems difficult. Goans are expecting a much better performance on the field at least as compared to the last Games. For far too long, Goan sports has been stuck in mediocrity, unable to produce a sportsperson of repute.

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