Address by Governor at State function to present Shiv Chhatrapati State Sports Awards in Mumbai
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the State function to present Shiv Chhatrapati State Sports Awards for the years 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 at Gateway of India, Mumbai at 5.30 p.m. on Saturday, 17 February 2018
Shri Vinod Tawde, Hon’ble Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare, Education and Culture, Shri Vijay Shivtare, Minister of State, Shri Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, Hon’ble Mayor of Mumbai, Shri Nand Kumar, Principal Secretary, School Education and Sports, Shri Sunil Kendrekar, Director of Sports, senior government officers, the most distinguished winners of the Shiv Chhatrapati State Sports Awards, family members of recipients of awards, sports-lovers, ladies and gentlemen…
I am indeed delighted to associate myself with the presentation of the most prestigious Shiv Chhatrapati State Sports Awards instituted by the Government of Maharashtra.
I extend my heartiest congratulations to all the three recipients of the Jeevan Gaurav Puraskars. I also congratulate the recipients of the Best Coaches Awards, the Jijamata Puraskars, the Shiv Chhatrapati State Sports award for Best Sports Organisers and Sports Activists and the Shiv Chhatrapati State Sports Awards for players. My congratulations and felicitations also go to the recipients of the Eklavya Puraskar for Divyang Persons and the recipients of the Adventure Sports Awards.
The sports awards of Government of Maharashtra are utmost important, not just because they are among the oldest sports awards, but because they bear the name of the greatest ruler of this land Raje Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
I congratulate each one of you for doing the nation and the State proud with your remarkable achievement as players, as Coach, as sports activists, as sports patrons, as Divyang sports persons and so on.
Our sportspersons have done extremely well at the first Khelo India Games and secured 2nd position in the medals tally in the entire country. I congratulate all the young players and their Coaches from Maharashtra for bringing laurels to the State, and I do hope that Maharashtra will claim the top position in the next edition of Khelo India.
India has had a great tradition of sports. Our epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana narrate the tales of the battles of Malla Yuddha between Bhima and Jarasandha and between King Bali and the King Ravan in the Ramayana.
Many sports and games have evolved in India. Unfortunately, colonial domination of nearly 300 years not just disrupted our industry, agriculture and our economy at large, but also did a considerable harm to our rich traditions of sports and culture.
History informs us that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had appointed two military commanders to train him in martial arts. Shivaji Maharaj was well versed in fencing, horse riding, marksmanship and other sports. Another great ruler, Shahu Maharaj, was very fond of wrestling and provided the game of wrestling a royal patronage. It is no coincidence that Kolhapur continues to produce top-class wrestlers even today.
In the 1952 Olympics held at Helsinki, great wrestler from Maharashtra, Khashaba Jadhav won the first individual Olympic medal for India. Between 1952 and 2018, Maharashtra has made tremendous progress in terms of creation of sports infrastructure and provision of facilities to sportspersons. However we have not been able to produce an Olympic medal winner.
We have many promising players who are very close to winning medals at international events. I want sportspersons from Maharashtra to end the draught of medals at the Olympics and bring medals for the nation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We must also put up our best performance at the 2018 Asian Games to be played in Jakarta – Palembang later this year. It will be a real tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has given a major impetus to sports. The Khelo India is not just a sporting event; it is a serious effort to inculcate the culture of sports in the country. It is also a giant step towards developing the personality of our students who are going to be the citizens of tomorrow.
As the youngest nation in the world having the average age of 29 years, India has the power and potential to dominate all future games, provided we inculcate discipline, promote sport culture and tap and nurture the potential of children, especially those from the rural parts of India.
My dear friends,
Jamaica, a small country in the Caribbean has a population of just 3 million. The country made heavy investment in organized and informal infrastructure for athletics. Today the country takes pride on being home to the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt and fastest woman on earth Elaine Thompson.
Every year, I flag off the Mumbai Marathon in the month of January. The winners in the major Marathon events often come from Ethiopia. We have a lot to learn from these nations.
Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba had declared that sports should be “the right of the people, not the right of the wealthy”. Cuba which has a population of 11 million – which is less than the population of Mumbai – wins a rich haul of medals in boxing, athletics and other games at the Olympics.
Maharashtra has a population of 11.5 crore, which is more than the combined population of Germany, Australia and New Zealand put together. I want Government of Maharashtra to become the first State in the country to make sports the right of the people. It will make the sports accessible, affordable and inclusive. We must seek the involvement of Corporates to build and develop sports infrastructure in our towns and cities.
In this connection, I will ask the Sports Department of Maharashtra to conduct an independent audit of sports infrastructure in Schools and Colleges. Let us find out how many schools and colleges have proper playgrounds, how many schools have facilities for indoor games and how many schools have dedicated coaches for sports. The best schools and colleges with good sports infrastructure should be suitably rewarded.
As Governor, I feel concerned that today there is no room for sports in the schedule of children and even youths. Children in urban and even rural areas are spending more time on smart phones and other gadgets. Reduced physical activity is causing a whole lot of physical and emotional problems for the children. This is indeed a deeply worrying trend. We must revive and rejuvenate sports to fulfill the dream of Healthy India.
At a time when India is making a serious effort to become an economic superpower, it is imperative that we make simultaneous effort to become a sporting nation. Most of the developed countries are equally developed in sports as is evident from their performance at the international events. It is high time India too geared up to claim its legitimate place in the list of top sporting nations. Maharashtra should lead the nation from the front.
Our biggest strength is our dedicated coaches. One single dedicated Coach like Pullela Gopichand helped India to produce several world class badminton players. I am sure, all our Coaches can likewise help Maharashtra to produce top class players in various sports disciplines.
One of the most important areas that needs urgent attention is the administration of sports. We need to bring in modern management practices in our sporting bodies and sports associations. Sports organisations must be run by sportspersons and professionals and not by politicians.
As Chancellor of Universities in Maharashtra, I would like Maharashtra to set up a full-fledged Sports University.
On that note, I congratulate all the winners of Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Awards and wish them success in their future endeavours.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!