An apathetic approach to sports development has led to a poor foundational structure when it comes to Indian sports. Subsequently, athletes always fall short on a global stage and, in many cases, they fail to rub shoulders with the global best in a competitive way. Federations are blamed, officials are put under the scanner for the period that a particularly important tournament is on. Once it is over, things go back to the way they used to be and the predicament faced by athletes is often forgotten.
A recent case that came into the limelight along these very lines was the story first reported by The Times of India. Bengaluru’s complex of Sports Authority of India sported depressing pictures of the junior Hockey Team reportedly using a broken plastic tank as an ice bath.
As a capital city, Bengaluru has always failed to boast of infrastructure that could be deemed to be at par with the status of the city. However, it is quite discouraging to see that one of the most prominent SAI complexes of the country had nothing better to offer their athletes than a broken plastic tank.
An ice bath therapy is quite indispensable for athletes who indulge in rigorous workout schedules. It is, moreover, recommended as it helps the system to attain normal body conditions faster after it has been heated up in training. For all the positive health effects of an ice bath, the fact that multiple players are crammed into a small space and the water is reused, this practice is anything but healthy.
Right now, things seem to have taken a slightly positive turn. According to a follow-up by The Times of India, top Sports Ministry officials have been notified of the sorry state of affairs and subsequent remedial action has been promised.
“The ministry has ordered an inquiry. After assuming charge as the sports minister during his visits to different SAI centres in the country, Goel had emphasised the need to upgrade SAI centres to provide the best facilities to the players practising or getting trained at SAI centres across India,” the Sports Ministry official was quoted as saying.
The junior India Hockey players have been attending a training camp at Bengaluru SAI for the past month. Apparently, the ice bath in a broken tank has been the practice for quite some time now. “The players also risked infection,” is what a team of medical experts had to say on the matter.
Instead of complaining about the dearth of medals on world stages, perhaps more importance must be laid on ensuring that the athletes who represent the country are given access to every facility possible. Vijay Goel and the officials working under him have taken a commendable step in ordering an inquiry into the incident of the plastic tank.