Letter: Embracing the Sports Code – hopefully

Shri Virendra Nanavati
Sr. V.P. Indian Olympic Association & CEO Swimming Federation of India

Dear Virendra bhai,

Embracing the Sports Code – hopefully

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election to the august IOA post. A hugely onerous assignment for any responsible individual.
Thanks to my two teenage daughters, who between them have a cumulative exposure of nearly 20 odd Indian swim nationals and over 60 national medals, I have had the good fortune of accumulating (some of it vicariously) a very useful sampling of the current state of Indian sport. While this experience might pale in comparison to your several decades at the helm of SFI, together with average intelligence and a strong sporting inclination, it is sufficient to help me conclude that Indian society has shamefully betrayed our young sports-persons.

There are few in this country (either side of 70) who would I think disagree with this view!

While I am aware that during these past 9 years you may not have appreciated my various interactions with you/SFI, I in turn do have a reasonably healthy regard for you as a person. You have been an astute administrator, do not appear to promote self aggregation and within the compulsions of politics try to be fair. In these dark times, this is enough to give me hope…and motivation to write this (somewhat uncharacteristic) gentle pleading.

In your current capacity in the IOA, you now stand a wonderful chance to remedy the pitiful state of our sport and lift it out of this nadir. The sports ministry has done a wonderful job in creating the Sports code through an inclusive process of dialogue and consultations – also public.

The focus of the IOA and NSF’s needs to be brought back onto the athlete. In the current set up the athlete is a tool for individual aspirations of sports officials/bodies. Unless this is turned on its head and the athletes/sports teams aspirations are made paramount, little sporting success can be expected. The Sports code is a first step in this direction. Please endorse and embrace it. Even after that a lot would need to be done but at least help us turn the corner!

You have a wonderful chance to leave behind a lasting legacy – one that will touch each young child in our country aspiring to be a sports person. I sincerely hope that you will proactively promote this change that the country is waiting for. In this hope we remain…

I write this without prejudice and in the best interest of Indian sport.

Thanking you.

Warm regards.

Anand Desai
MSc, MA (Psychology)
Dipl Sports Psychology
ASCA level II Swim coach