track - amid criticism and cyclists pulling out
cyclists pulled out citing health and safety issues and Australia
questioned why the event was being held in India, but the 19th
Commonwealth Games seemed set to roll Friday with the first of the
foreign contingents landing in the Indian
The bid for the Commonwealth Games 2010 was spurred by an appeal
made by students of 120 schools of Delhi and the National Capital
Region (NCR), says sports writer and filmmaker Sunil Yash Kalra.
"They prepared a memorandum, put their signatures and said, 'Hey,
we want the Commonwealth Games'," Kalra told IANS. His book, "Road
To Commonwealth Games 2010" (A Penguin-India publication) - a
dossier listing the history of the Games, its stakeholders and
logistics - was released in the capital this week.
Kalra's book covers the history of the Games in 11 chapters - from
how the capital won the bid for the Games, preparations, upgrading
logistics, media participation, impact, issues and the legacy.
He says while Indian sportspersons will aim at propelling India to
its best medal haul at the Oct 3-14 Games, "the real gains will be
seen in the revival of sports in various schools and colleges".
"In Delhi and NCR at least 27 percent of the schools has some kind
of structured sports and the number will rise to 52 percent in the
next few years. Thousands of schools that are coming up in the
country are providing opportunity for sports to children and this
is having a trickle down effect in the country. Sports is fast
becoming a way of life in India - especially with corporate
support," Kalra told IANS.
Kalra, who has been associated with the Indian sports in different
capacities for over a decade, has made a docudrama on women's
cricket, "Poor Cousins of Million Dollar Babies". He has also
written a coffee table book, "Commonwealth Journey from Melbourne
to New Delhi", in 2006. He has also worked with the ministry of
sports and youth affairs to create logo and brand identity for "Pykka"
(Panchayat Yuva Krida Khel Abhiyan) - the largest sports
initiative for rural sports in India.
He recently contributed a 100-foot photo canvas on Indian sports,
created specifically for the ministry of railways' Commonwealth
Kalra's Commonwealth diary is intended for children. "I wanted to
highlight the impact of Commonwealth Games on the children and
students," Kalra said.
"D.R. Saini, principal of the Delhi Public School in R.K. Puram,
recalls that the outlook of their school towards sports changed
when the CBSE introduced sports as a subject in 1985. DPS students
scored the maximum in this subject at an all-India level over the
next two years."
"In 2003, DPS students had played a
role in the capital's successful bid for the 2010 Commonwealth
Games - they were among the 400,000 school children who had signed
an appeal to the CWG delegation for choosing Delhi as the host.
The principal of the school was confident that world class
sportspersons will emerge from the school in times to come," Kalra
If the schools played a key role in bringing the Games to India,
"the universities were not behind".
"According to Gurdeep Singh, undersecretary, sports, association
of Indian Universities, nearly 40 percent of the players in the
Indian contingent for the Commonwealth Games are from
universities," Kalra said.
The country has not been lagging behind sports education, the
writer says in his book.
The first management diploma course in sports was introduced way
back in 1957, the centenary year of the India's first War of
Independence (then called Sepoy Mutiny), with the inauguration of
the Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education in Gwalior.
Since then, several sports institutes funded by the ministry of
national and youth affairs have come up in the country.
In June, the Khalsa College in Delhi University introduced the
first short-term certificate course in Sports Economics and
Marketing. The Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A) announced a
course in professional management of sports organizations
"Incidentally, the Olympic bronze medalist and poster boy of
Indian wrestling, Sushil Kumar has already enrolled for a master's
degree in physical education and aims to become the first Khel
Ratna Awardee to acquire a PhD," Kalra said.
The writer said the Games are also renewing citizens' commitment
to environment and awareness about "clean living".
Another book, "Sellotape Legacy: Delhi & The Commonwealth Games"
by Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta published by HarperCollins-India
this month takes a close look at the politics of the Commonwealth
Games and the money that has been spent on shaping the priorities.
Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)