Hyderabad: Providing basic training facilities and drawing children from middle and lower-middle classes towards sports are prerequisites for producing top-class athletes and positioning India as a major sporting nation, according to top players in different disciplines.
Top sports personalities, including badminton star Jwala Gutta and Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri, on Wednesday suggested a slew of measures, which if implemented, can help India emerge as a major sporting nation.
"We are a country of 1.3 billion people. It is important to provide the right training (to young players). Instead of asking what the (sport) association concerned is doing, it is important to focus on what is in your hand, to improve yourself," Chhetri said here.
The 31-year-old footballer was taking part in a discussion on 'India's potential as a sporting nation' organised by the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation (YFLO).
Gutta's partner and doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa and Indian women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj were among the other speakers at the event.
Gutta said it was important to focus on providing basic facilities to young players, especially those from the middle and lower-middle classes.
"We need to focus on basics. We have facilities. But we fail to utilise them to the fullest. Sports should be accessible for the middle and lower-middle classes, who form a substantial part of the population," said the 31-year-old winner of the recent Canada Open and other prestigious events in badminton doubles.
Noting that it has been a difficult journey for her to come up in her chosen field, Raj said things have improved for the better after women's cricket came under the umbrella of BCCI.
A lot needs to be changed in the country for children vis- a-vis sports in terms of training, physiotherapists and nutrition, said Ponnappa.
It is tough for parents of budding sportspersons to encourage their children to take up sports as a career given the requirement of financial resources, they added.