TENDULKAR WANTS INDIA TO BE A FIT AND SPORT-PLAYING NATION

Sachin Tendulkar has called for the formation of an organistaion that can employ former athletes. In his scheduled Rajya Sabha speech, which could not be delivered, the cricket legend pointed out that benefits from such an organisation will be multi-fold.

“I have requested the government to form an organisation that will employ the retired athletes. Because of financial insecurity, the athletes are taking whatever job that is available to them. In a way, they are not necessarily benefitting,” he said.

Talking about the dividends of such an organisation, Tendulkar said that it can help India develop as a sporting nation. “We’re a sport- loving nation but not a sport-playing nation. I want the country to inculcate that culture so that we become a sport-playing nation. We need to play,” Tendulkar told Mirror about the points he strove to make in his speech.

The former India captain, who has been honoured with the Bharat Ratna, quoted a UN report which says India is not among the fittest of the nations. “India will become youngest average age nation by 2020. When we talk of young age, we think they are fit. But that is not the case. We’re the diabetic capital of the world. In obesity, we’re No 3 in the world,” he said.

Tendulkar said that that such non-communicable diseases can badly affect the economy. “(The damage) will be $6.3 trillion by 2030, as per a UN report. That is worth Rs 4 crore-crores. The Indian economy will be hugely impacted. We need to address this and it has to start from the grassroots. We need it push it from school level and educate children on diet and fitness.

“Here that organisation comes into the picture. The employed former athletes can educate the school children about sport and fitness.

“The benefits are two fold here – (a) we’re encouraging a healthy life and (b) we’re able to spot talent at a young age. In a way, the athlete is trying to give something back to the society and we’re not utilising that. If we do that (create employment for them), we will be able to bring that (impact on economy) down. The Indian economy will directly benefit,” he emphasised.

Tendulkar gave the example of a special athlete who sells golgappas. “Sita Sahu was a Special Olympics medallist in Athens and she is selling golgappas. If Sita Sahu can be employed by this organisation, she can inspire other children. We need such inspiring stories. With our population, we can produce world class athletes. The challenge is to reach out to them and in that way this organisation can help,” he signed off.

Courtesy : Mumbai Mirror

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