Boosting sportspersons’ morale

YOUTH Affairs and Sports Minister Letpao Haokip announcing that the daily allowances given to sportspersons of all disciplines, who represent the state at national level competitions, will be increased to Rs 1000 from the existing Rs 200, is undoubtedly one of the most significant and commendable decisions ever taken by any government. As a former footballer himself, Letpao should be well aware about the sportspersons’ need for financial support while preparing to perform at their best at any level of competition. Having made the announcement, the sports minister should initiate relevant process to ensure that his bold decision is implemented at the earliest possible for athletes cannot be expected to excel sans nutritious and balanced diets. Letpao’s zeal to help the sportspersons of Manipur could also be comprehended from his declaration that existing practice of awarding tender to caterers for sportspersons would be streamlined in order to ensure that quality of food served to the players/trainee sportspersons is enhanced. For long sportspersons have been the saving grace for a restive state like Manipur and as such they deserve to get proper attention of the government in ensuring that the athletes get the best facility to hone their skills as well as accommodation and food supplements. Contrary to the earlier governments citing financial constraints for lack of support to sportspersons, Letpao’s announcement will not only evoke positive response from all sections of the society but will definitely boost the athletes’ morale in bringing more laurels to Manipur.

Sports competitions in the past may be a test of raw prowess of athleticism and skills refined through hard work. But with advancement in technology and medical science, developed nations have been investing heavily in sports and sportspersons as achievements at the international level of competitions is seen as indicator of economic prowess of the champion nations. Research shows that investment into sport in developing countries is much less than in developed countries, as sport development is usually not a top priority in the national budget or in the education system of most developing countries. It is a well-established fact that as a result of the underdevelopment of sport in developing countries, in which lower investment in sport decreases the potential for athletes to build their talent, there are fewer prospects for athletes to continue their sport training or pursue professional sport careers in a developing country. In turn, the lack of talent-building opportunities in a developing country leads to less return on the little investment put into local talent, further debilitating local sport development structures and sport career pathways. With less developed countries unable to utilise the talent of their strong performers, it is obvious that the talented sportspersons, in their search for greener pastures tend to defect to more powerful nations in global sport eventually resulting in the gap between economically underdeveloped and developed nations getting wider. Thus minister Letpao’s announcement to hike the daily allowances of sportspersons should go a long way in checking ‘muscle drain’ from Manipur as is evident from many Manipuri sportspersons representing other more advanced states and institutions.

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