The aura of novelty around the National Games has diminished over the years. It’s no longer an event that any state would welcome. Reluctance is the word that greets it nowadays. How else would one explain the repeated delays of the Goa National Games that was supposed to be held some two years ago? In fact, it’s not just Goa. Earlier there were occasions when host states missed repeated deadlines. Barring exceptions, the Games were always held after due dates had long passed by. This is not acceptable. To put the importance of the Games in perspective: What Asian Games is for the continent or the Olympics is for the world, the National Games is for India. It is the platform where the careers of future champions can be launched.
Perhaps, the Indian Olympic Association, under whose aegis the Games take place, too seems clueless at times. Especially, whenever the states turn around and say ‘we can’t meet the deadline’. After all, the money spent is by the states and the IOA doesn’t have the reserves to fund the event. Why can’t it be something like the Olympics where they find their own title sponsor and other associate sponsors? On the contrary, here, there are no sponsors. The onus is on the state government to generate funds. So hosting the Games is in the hands of the states. That’s why even though the IOA has imposed a Rs 10 crore fine on Goa for missing three deadlines, the main stakeholders are not bothered.
So instead of states being thrust with the responsibility of hosting the Games, the IOA should have a mechanism by which it generate funds from event sponsors. In that case, it will have more authority over the Games. The IOA needs to be more versatile and aggressive in their marketing strategy. Otherwise, no state will pay a fine of Rs 10 crore after spending so much money on developing infrastructure for the event. No matter how threatening the IOA gets, the states won’t relent.