Interview with Nama Ashish Prem Singh

For Nama Ashish Prem Singh the tryst with sports started at a very tender age when in school, playing various sports and being in sports teams. The love for the game inculcated the passion for sports, putting him in the position he is in now. Unfortunately, injuries halted his progress as a professional athlete. Despite that, his motivation and dedication led to him being into the organization of sports, notably being the Director of Venue Operations in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, director, coordinator, and manager at several international games like the Asian Games-Incheon 2014 as well as the South Asian Games 2016-Shillong/Guwahati and many more. In his current role as an academician of Physical Education, his motivation is to breed a new lot of Indian athletes to conquer the global world of sports. Q&A 1. You've organized and supervised several tournaments. What do you feel are the major differences in the organization process here in India and other countries? "There aren't many differences in the organization of a sports event in India and any other country. There are many similarities in the way of management of sports events in India and other places. For example, the Lusofonia Games held in Goa seemed to be better organized than the games held in Singapore. There are around 30-40 functional areas that are involved in the organization, for example- Ticketing, Accreditation, Volunteering, and many more. The entire process revolves around the quality of work done in such functional areas which leads to the success of the event. The difference in the quality of the event totally depends upon the amount of work put in in the functional areas. Every country prepares strategy on working on these functional areas to make the event a success."' 2. What are the changes you think are required to make India more inducive to organization of large-scale events? "I feel that there are several ways India could improve its organizational strategy. The workforce involved should be sincere, a proper technological set-up should be in place and all functional areas require supervision. In India, I think the focus should be diverted to Spectator Services, the Ticketing process, and also the Security measures within premises. There is always a disconnect between the security measures and the ticketing, leading to chaotic situations that should be avoided to improve services to the spectators. In my opinion, a place could be more receptive to event management by conducting several events and more competitions in the city itself. If you look at Goa as an example, the National Games kept there was a success. The success is attributed to the ability of the city to handle large scale events, with proper coordination and city services being efficient. There should be an utmost emphasis on coordination, the involvement of city services. In some cases, there are no approvals taken by the organization from the government, leading to chaos, hence the services including airports, metros, police, the administration should be well informed and all approvals should be taken." 3. Being an academic professor in PE, what kind of challenges you face teaching young students? "There is a difference when a student comes out of schools and gets into colleges, which makes us undo several things learned previously. In school, the physical education provided is different and the teachers are also different- leading to lapses in discipline, more emphasis on theory, and lack of volunteering. When introduced to college-level education, there is a certain shyness involved in the learning process. In physical education, there is a requirement of practical and fieldwork, so there is a lack of continuity of education to pursue a career in Physical Education, one of the best professions to get into in my opinion. Another essential thing that lacks is Exposure, in terms of event management, participation, and involvement, which is not given at lower levels. I think incorporating quality level education at a lower level which translates into better education. There should be parameters set at the school level to work on, more exposure given to outdoor activities. This would lead to more focus on the issues of strength and ability to face pressure, as like in the US and Europe, where all this focus at lower ages leads to better performance in the future in terms of mindset and physicality." 4. What are the major observations you've noticed in the mentality of budding Indian sportsperson, since you're heavily involved in it? "Sports are not physical education, sports are competitive and physical education is more academical like physiology, psychology, and others. I think there is a gradual increase in the involvement of newer generations in sports. This is maybe due to an increase in social media influence, more broadcasting which automatically leads to interest generation. There is a level of improvement without any doubt, but it is not to a level it should be. A country like ours which has a huge population should be doing more. For example, India would get 2-3 medals at the Olympics, which is very discouraging. These discouraging performances has led to sports being the cream which is automatically churned out of the physical education." 5. Representing the country on the global stage must be a proud moment, where do you see the future lies for sports in India? "To be very honest and straight, I don't see the future of India in sports very encouraging. The reason being the three authorities- Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and the autonomous authority of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The issue is a lack of coordination between such authorities, and no attempts by them to focus on what is to be taught at school level and tertiary level. The IOA should also have accountability for various sports federations within India. The coordination between this triangle of authorities is missing in the Indian sports scenario. In one Olympics, China receives as many medals as the total Indian participation from the 1950's up to 2016. It's quite clearly visible and evident with facts that India is lacking performance on the global stage. The level of viewership, broadcasting, and fan-following would increase, but I think performance levels would not improve. The Indian government should focus on the performance aspect, which would mean more participants. Like in the case of Saina Nehwal, her winning medals led to more participants in badminton. Also, when the Indian wrestling scenario improved, there was more interest and participation from especially the suburban and rural areas. I could also say that if India starts losing cricket games for a period of 2 to 3 years, the viewership goes down massively. Hence, I consider performance is the parameter to assess physical education, and efforts should be made to focus on performance." 6. Any message for the people who will be reading this interview My message would be that a synonymous word for education is exposure. People should start their career right from scratch. I believe participation and volunteering is the biggest aspect of physical education and sports management. Early exposure would lead to flourishment in the career. #Interview #Sports #SainaNehwal #IOC #PE

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