London: Legendary athlete and London Olympics organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe feels that popularity of cricket is overshadowing the development of
other sports in India and the country should produce role models other than cricketers.
Coe, gold medallist in 1500m in 1980 and 1984 Olympics, said the popularity of cricket, especially among the younger generation, is preventing the growth of other sports in India, particularly athletics.
"Indian diaspora can create role models from the world of athletics to promote sports activities other than cricket. We at London 2012 want to help Asian communities to create globalised role models," said 53-year-old Coe.
Coe said India is not about cricket only and has talents in abundance in non-cricket sports, last year's Delhi Commonwealth Games being the evidence.
"Recently at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Delhi in 2010, Indians realised that they have very talented athletes and it is not just about cricket, and other games can create very strong legacies," he told 'Asian Lite', a publication of British Asian communities.
At London 2012, Coe wants to help the Commonwealth nations around the world to create their own globalised role models and, for the South Asian community, these role models should come from outside the world of cricket.
"London 2012 wants to leave a legacy in a number of areas and wants to ensure that sport is high up on the social and political agendas in countries around the world," he said.
Monty Panesar, Nasser Hussain and Mark Ramprakash are among the few Indian-origin cricketers who have represented Britain both at the county and international
Amir Khan, the British boxer of Pakistani descent, is one of those from outside the world of cricket. Khan currently is the WBA World super lightweight champion - he won the belt at the age of 22, making him Britain's third-youngest world champion.
Coe refused to comment on the developments in India with regard to the arrest of CWG organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi on corruption charges and his removal from the post of president of Indian Olympic Association.
"The matter is for the Indian Olympic Association to decide," Coe said.
First Published: Thursday, April 28, 2011, 17:59