India does not have much of a record of success on the international sports scene, at least not recently. Okay, really it never has. The country won its first individual gold in Beijing. Seriously. The first EVER. It has less than two dozen in its Olympic history. But that may be changing.
With a huge youth population, success in sports on a national and regional basis (pan-Asian) and its upcoming role as host of the Commonwealth Games, a sporting culture is grabbing hold in this nation of over 1.1 billion people.
And just last week there was an announcement highlighting a major partnership between sports management giant IMG and one of India’s largest companies, Reliance Industries. The two are investing in IMG Reliance Pvt Ltd, a joint-venture that will create and operate sports and entertainment properties in India and develop a “world-class” sports coaching infrastructure for the country. Infrastructure is often cited as a major roadblock to continued growth for India’s rising economy. And the world of sports was no exception when it came to needed a foundation from which to build.
As the foundation is built, stories of success will need to be showcased. Having the facilities is one thing but as we all know, inspiration is just as important. So many athletes over the years have cited role models, inspirational figures they wanted to emulate or at least they learned from when it came to doing what was necessary to succeed in sports, and in life. Going forward, India will need to showcase such efforts.
Thankfully, folks in India won’t have to wait for an inspirational story, nor will it cost a lot to have that story made into a movie. According to a story from Reuters, Milkha Singh, one of India’s greatest track athletes, and nicknamed “the Flying Sikh”, has sold the rights to his life story to film maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra for one rupee (two cents). Singh hopes that the biopic – ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ (Run Milkha, Run) – might inspire the youth of his country to excel in sports. He seems to have inspired at least person already. His son, Jeev is a top international golfer.