A Proud Sporting Nation - Eastern Mirror
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A Proud Sporting Nation

By The Editorial Team Updated: Nov 15, 2020 9:53 pm

Northeast’s Bala Devi is a renowned international woman footballer. Starting from a very humble background, Bala Devi’s journey to the top and carving out a niche for herself in women’s football, inspires us all. It’s a fascinating story of dedication, determination and discipline. Despite showing her talent at an early age, no one thought that she would progress so far in her footballing career. But Bala Devi defied all odds to become the first Indian woman footballer to play for Scottish giants Rangers FC. Inspired by her success, many more Indian women footballers are now striving hard to find a place in world’s top women football teams. If those budding footballers remain focused on fulfilling their dreams, the standard of women’s football in India will definitely improve and at the same time will set an example for other nations to imitate.

Bala Devi’s success is not an isolated occurrence. As a matter of fact, Indian women sports persons have earned more laurels than their male counterparts. In total, they have won more Olympic, Commonwealth and Asian Games medals than males in recent times. Bala Devi’s story is an addition to the number of women achievers. It’s a pity however, that notwithstanding the success of women sportspersons, we still don’t encourage women to enter into the sporting arena. It seems as though we don’t allow scope for womankind to excel in life. This is why women sporting federations or associations always get step-motherly treatment both from the administration and the public. For example, even a child will be able to tell the names of eleven male Indian cricketers who are representing the country at present; but a die-hard sports lover will fumble even to name three women Indian cricketers who have made the country proud. Remember the particular scene from ‘Chak De India’ where Indian women hockey team managed to go to the world championship only after performing remarkably well against the male team which was sure to participate in international events despite its poor showing for decades.

There is not much of a difference between reel life and real life. Gender discrimination is vividly visible in Indian sports. This is why the achievements of Bala Devi are still not known to many Indians. Who is aware of the success of Chekrovolu Swuro, the second Naga athlete to participate in the Olympics after a gap of 64 years? Did SAI ever make an attempt to project them as role models to budding athletes? If one thinks that felicitation or a hefty cash reward will create a sporting culture in the country, they are mistaken. In every field, the presence of an outstanding achiever is a must to keep the flag flying. The extraordinary success of Kunjarani Devi had inspired K. Maleswari, the first Indian woman to win a medal in the summer Olympics. Similarly, today if Archery has become a popular sport in India, Swuro has played an important role in it. So, let us not spend all of India’s energy and resources to promote only boys in the field of sports, we must provide equal opportunities to girls to make India a proud sporting nation.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Nov 15, 2020 9:53:30 pm