What is High-Performance Sport?
High-Performance Sport helps athletes to excel and compete at the highest level of sports in an international arena. High performance sport is identified by all the biggest sporting events at the world level such as Olympics, World Cups, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, etc.
Historically, India has made little headway in elite sports in terms of performances at the international level. For a nation that has a huge demographic advantage - there are 60 crore people below the age of 25 - India has only won 28 medals in the 24 Olympic games it has participated in since 1900 (an average of just over 1 medal per Olympics).
This begs the question – Why India, a country with the second largest population in the world, fields so few medallists at the Olympics? What’s stopping us from achieving our full potential in sports at the highest level?
Issues facing Indian Sports
If we evaluate the Indian sports ecosystem, it is evident that a number of critical factors such as lack of quality infrastructure, adequate funding, well-planned systems for talent identification and nurturing, availability of high-quality coaches, etc. have affected India’s ability to produce world-class athletes capable of finishing on the podium.
Several attempts have been made in the past to solve these complex issues. But unfortunately, due to the fragmented nature and scope of those interventions, they have failed to achieve the desired impact.
Lessons of Success from Around the World
When success eludes you despite sincere efforts, it’s best to learn from others who have walked similar paths and come out on top. That’s why it is important to analyse the recent performances of a few countries who have managed to turn things around such as Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, Iran, and South Africa. After decades of poor performance at the Olympics, Great Britain set an Olympic record by winning 67 medals at the Rio 2016 Games, two more than they managed at London 2012. At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Japan won a total of 41 and South Korea won 21 medals. In the 2012 London Olympics, Iran left with a total of 13 medals. South Africa left Rio de Janeiro with a total of 10 medals – this is way better than their previous performances.
How did these countries accomplish this success? Globally, a number of studies have been conducted to identify their ingredients of success. The most notable of them is from the SPLISS (Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success) consortium group that conducts projects to identify, compare and contrast elite sport policies among nations. The SPLISS network’s comparative study suggests that the ‘production’ of successful elite athletes is an output of a strategic planning process with an absolute focus on High-Performance management that shares similar structures, processes, and methods. The lesson to be learned? - Success at the elite level requires an integrated approach to the organization, structure, and governance of High Performance Sport
The need of the Hour
If we are to bring in a new world-beating era of Indian sports, we must also adopt similar practices and shift our focus from solving problems in silos to adopting a more integrated approach that will help us create a robust and an intentionally designed sports system which consistently creates world-class athletes across all sports
In order to do this, ELMS Sports Foundation proposes the following approach –
This approach is similar to the recommendations of the Olympic Task Force. ELMS Sports Foundation is led by Olympic Task Force members, national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand and India's lone individual Olympic gold medallist, Abhinav Bindra, in this endeavour.
ELMS’ key priorities through this approach are to-