Tenith Adithyaa, an 18-year-old innovator has written an open letter to the Prime Minister talking about the crucial steps that can help improve the condition of sports in India, and how he wants to contribute.
Honourable Prime Minister of India,
SUB: Olympic voice of an 18-year-old teen
I am Tenith Adithyaa M, an 18-year-old student pursuing Computer Science and Engineering at SVS College of Engineering, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. I am a young inventor and the first innovation scholar of India, having created 19 inventions and received 16 international awards.
I remained convinced and content as a perfect citizen of India till the recent Olympics at Rio. A month has elapsed since the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics. During this time I have started feeling duty-deficient as an Indian.
We have the fourth largest defence force on the planet, and we were at the 67th place in Olympics. I am feeling crestfallen. I am not critical about the performance of our participants and I have deep respect for their achievements despite all the external hitches.
But these achievements are too little for a country with over a billion people.
I have spoken to many fellow Indians who tell me that our government should support and provide more facilities to our sports persons. By the term India we not only mean the land mass extending from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari and by the term government we not only mean the honourable leaders and learned bureaucrats of this great country. It represents the 1.252 billion citizens of this country and I am one among them. In my opinion, there is much more to be done than just the government backing elite Indian athletes.
After Rio, I began introspecting, “Why am I so saddened about Rio Olympics? What have I done for sports in India? I have done nothing for those sports persons who have worked so hard achieve this glory and represent our country on the global stage.” I want our sports persons to feel the same sense of pride and delight that I feel when hoisting our flag after winning an international award in a global arena. I want them to feel this during the Tokyo Olympics of 2020.
Former Honourable President Dr. Abdul Kalam and our Honourable President of India Dr. Pranab Mukherjee, both legendary personalities, have told me, “Our country needs you, young man.” I had been feeling the same until now, and will continue to do so in the future.
As a youngster, from my own knowledge and experience, I state the truth that support for talent in India at the grassroots is heart-breaking and the exposure to sports at schools and colleges is dismal. Our country’s youth, including me, notice India’s sports performance only during the Olympics or Commonwealth games.
I started my journey in science when I was eight; the ignition has to occur at a young age. Starting preparation a year or two before the Olympic Games is insufficient. We have to understand the reality at the ground level. To perform better at sports, we must start from the very beginning. Our country should definitely help in identifying and sustaining talent. A lot of resources have to be invested in identifying hidden talent across the country, not just for the 2020 Olympics, but also for the way beyond.
We should initiate an incubation program called “India towards Olympics hunt” for sports on a wider scale that would enable youngsters to discover their talents. Under this initiative we can organise camps, training programs and contests across the nation to identify and nurture the right talent at a young age.
According to me, the key factors that can help save Indian sports are as follows:
· Grassroots level selection and development
· Qualified infrastructure & strategic support system
· Comprehensive planning & selection of sports
· Youthful talent identification & sustainment
· Sports prospects in education
· Athletes’ economical protection
· More efficient sports administration & accountability
· Public contribution towards sports
I am hereby donating “Rs. 5,000/- (Rupees Five Thousand Only”) which is the cash award I bagged in the International Engineering Expo held at Malaysia. I had saved this money to capitalize on my forthcoming world record attempt. Now I feel that I can secure that later, but my country is my priority.
Every citizen is contributing to our country by paying taxes; I also do that. I am not expecting everyone in our country to contribute towards this initiative. The citizenry of this country is around 1.252 billion. With a humongous population, we have humongous abilities and infinite possibilities. We would need just Rs.100/- from every Indian to spend Rs. 100 crores on every athlete, which would amount to 5 times UK’s expenditure on an athlete.
I am not expecting this from people who are incapacitated to make their ends meet. Being a student, I bear the contribution of about 50 citizens in this initiative.
I hope this initiative would turn the tide and reverse the medal table.
As the saying goes “As we sow, so shall we reap”, we may harvest in Tokyo, a brighter future for sure in the long term.
I am not sure where I should send my money, so I thought the prime minister would be the right person to make this a productive initiative. I hope this won’t go in vain as another funding vector or just a letter by a geeky teen. By this initiative, I am certain that our contribution will bear its fruits when our country marks the Olympic centenary participation. I hereby express my spirit of gratitude for patiently reading this long letter and spending your invaluable time.
You can contact Tenith by writing to him at firstname.lastname@example.org