In a league of their own: 2022 ends rights by making sports gender equal
The BCCI’s pay equity policy to reduce the gender gap in fee structure was a historic decision in 2022.
The BCCI’s pay equity policy to reduce the gender gap in fee structure was a historic decision in 2022. On its heels come more firsts, making 2023 a significant year for women in sports—later this month, the ICC will hold the first-ever Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa and March will see the first-ever women’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
As stadiums across the world welcome back fans with swankier looks and better infrastructure, equipped with comfortable seating and giant display screens, it’s going to be no different for India, which is gearing up to host the Men’s Hockey World Cup in January, the Squash World Cup and the 2023 Cricket World Cup, which, for the first time, will be held entirely in the country, in October.
The inaugural women’s IPL on home turf will be the next frontier in cricket, giving women cricketers an exposure that was available only to their male counterparts until now. Featuring six teams, the BCCI expects each franchise to generate `1,000-crore revenue. Former cricketer and BCCI official Shantha Rangaswamy says the league can revolutionise women’s cricket. “IPL will ensure domestic players mingle with internationals. That may improve the overall standard. This would be a big plus for women’s cricket,” she says. Internationally, the calendar for women’s sports will see important events such as the U19 Women’s World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup. The International Tennis Federation has also increased the number of women’s tournaments in 2023, besides pushing the envelope with a 10 percent increase on the prize money.
Training Goes High-Tech
With cloud technology ruling the roost in sports training, one can expect lesser injuries and better optimisation of resources by athletes. Teja Prakash Kakarla, co-founder of Netrin Sports Technologies, says cloud applications will “narrow down the geographical and technical divide between amateur and elite athletes, allowing the ones at grassroots access and inputs from experts at the right time”.
Remote monitoring technologies also promise better performances in future tournaments. “The sleep, diet pattern and fat percent analysis will help the athlete perform better. Cloud can also help prevent injuries and niggles by data collation,” says strength and conditioning coach Ramji Srinivasan and the founder of Sports Dynamix, a coaching facility in Chennai.
E-sports is the Game-Changer
According to Statista, the total number of online gamers in India grew to 390 million in 2021, up by 8 percent from 2020, and is expected to surpass 450 million by 2023. With over 400 gaming companies and 420 million online gamers, second only to China, the digital culture fostered during the pandemic has redefined sports, and led to a gaming revolution in the age of smart gadgets. With participation now possible through mobile phones and not just high-end consoles, people from tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India have also been calling the shots in video games such as Call of Duty, DOTA 2, Tekken 7, FIFA and Valorant.
This year, all eyes will be on the Indian e-sports contingent at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The International Olympic Committee also confirmed that Singapore will host the maiden Olympics e-sports Week in 2023. The four-day festival, from June 22-25, will showcase the best of virtual sports and bolster the industry by bringing it closer to the Olympic sphere.
Players to Watch Out For
Charanjot Singh and Mayank Prajapati
(e-sports): Charanjot will represent India in FIFA, while Prajapati will compete in Street Fighter V at the Asian Games
(Squash): The youngest athlete to represent India at the CWG 2022 at 14, Anahat is Indian squash’s next big hope
Indian women’s cricket team batter will be one of the key players in the inaugural women’s IPL