Sports

Inculcating greater gender sensitivity in Indian sport need of the hour

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on June 23, 2013

After the IPL spot fixing and betting scandal, the decision by the Archery Association of India to suspend two archers for indecent behaviour at the National camp in Pune has come as a rude shock. In fact, a month or so back the same venue was in news when a woman archer committed suicide.

And now, a junior woman trap shooter has accused two of her male team mates of making sexual and derogatory comments during an international competition in Germany recently. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), which runs the sport, has suspended the two athletes and initiated an enquiry.

Such incidents, coming one after the other, have not only tarnished the reputation of the country but have also given a bad name to Indian sport in general. After a record haul of medals at the London Olympics, sport in India was poised to for greater heights . But, such incidents will prove to be a dampener as talented sportspersons might be compelled to stay away.

Serious view

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has taken a serious view of the complaint and reiterated its commitment to ensure that sport in India remains free of any form of sexual harassment. It has also warned of stringent action against those who found guilty of such practices.

Although one may wish to blame the players for all the ills, no one has yet suggested what role the National or State associations should play in these circumstances. After all, it is the National body or the State unit that comes in contact with the players during their formative years.

It is imperative to have a foolproof system first at the State level and then at the National level to weed out unwanted and indisciplined players who might prove to be the black sheep at the international level and bring disrepute to the Nation.

It is for the Union Government to ensure that the National and State bodies remain transparent and vigilant in such issues. It should also ensure that neither political clout nor money power influences the powers that be from punishing the guilty. If need be, the Government should enact proper legislation to protect the good from the bad.

> sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 23, 2013

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