Does India take its sportswomen seriously?
Special Opinion Report by
After the great performance of Indian sportswomen at the Asian Games, the female golfers of the country are ready to represent their nation at an international level at the Hero Women’s Indian Open that is starting on 4th December. To be hosted at the Delhi Golf Club, the 8th edition will see Sharmila Nicollet, the youngest Indian to retain her Ladies European Tour card and the Hero Order of Merit 2014 winner Vani Kapoor, amongst others, compete for India.
Even with a good number of golf courses in the country, golf as a sport has not taken off in India the way it has in many other countries. The sport faces many challenges in the country, the biggest being the lack of support from the government.
India has seen great improvement in the number of women golf players. However, very little credit can be given to the government for promoting them. Private companies and veteran golf players have mostly been responsible for endorsing the game.
At a press conference held earlier this week, Kavita Singh, President of the WGAI, said “Indian players have grown in confidence from competing with the international players, and are beginning to take the leap to the next level. On behalf of the Women’s Golf Association of India, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Hero MotoCorp, the Ladies European Tour and the Ladies Asian Golf Tour for their continued support of the event.”
Even with USD 300,000 being offered as prize money, there aren’t many takers for the sport in our country, especially amongst women. The expensive equipment and coaching requires funds and with limited exposure and assistance, a very small section is acquainted with the game. With no government interference, a sport like golf will never be able to take off in a country like India.
It is not just golf though; players and especially women players in our country rarely find any support in the government. In an interview with SheThePeople.TV, Indian basketball and Volleyball player Prachi Tehlan, who captained the Indian volleyball team and got India its first medal in the sport, talked about the challenges players like her have had to face. Having retired at the age of 23, Tehlan also wrote an open letter to the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, regarding the prevailing condition of players.
Tehlan is amongst many others who realize that being a sportsperson is not a viable career option in our country. The Indian government has been taking various measures to bring India into the forefront of science, technology, industries, tourism etc. But the question is that in the last few decades, what has our country given back to the sportspersons who’ve bought pride and glory to the nation?
This is regrettable, but India is a nightmare for a talented sportsperson, especially a woman. With our country producing gems like Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza and Sharmila Nicollet, amongst many others, one wonders how many more such talented women are out there in the country waiting for opportunities that would help them display their talent to the world. For now let’s hope that our women golfers see victory at the tournament and give the sport its due recognition.