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Subcontinental Drift: Games Plan
How to improve South Asia's Olympic medal haul

September 28, 2000
Web posted at 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time, 3:00 a.m. EDT

Looks like my lamentation last week had its desired effect: ideas for boosting South Asia's Olympic performances are now coming in fast and furious. Many, it must be said, are predictable--build more stadiums, replace all the sports boards, pay athletes more, catch 'em young, etc. Not to belittle any of these suggestions: they are all perfectly valid. But they are also somewhat obvious.

Subcontinental Drift: Bronze Goddess
An Indian athlete lifts the Olympic gloom
- Thursday, September 21, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Wooden Spoons
More Olympic views from our readers
- Thursday, September 14, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Lame Games
Your theories on South Asia's Olympic shame
- Thursday, September 7, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Olympic Shame
What ails South Asia's athletes? You tell me!
- Thursday, August 31, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Justifying Hate
Faux theories fail to explain the Kashmir dispute
- Thursday, August 24, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Mirage in the Mountains
How Hizb-ul-Mujahideen used its ceasefire to play politics
- Wednesday, August 9, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Hair-Trigger
Why the cease-fire in Kashmir cannot last
- Thursday, August 3, 2000

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

From Our Correspondent
Personal perspectives on the news
We know that the subcontinent is lacking in sports infrastructure, that our sports administrators are usually corrupt or imbecile (and often both), that our sportsmen and women don't get enough credit or pay, and that our selection and training processes for athletes leave much to be desired. We've known all these things for decades. But simply proposing that these be changed won't help.

The Subcontinental Drift message board -- sound-off about the news in South Asia to TIME
So, for your perusal today, I've picked the ideas that come out of left field-- that are interesting and unusual. Some might strike you as completely off the wall. But when you look at the medals table at the end of the Games and find that South Asia has only two medals (I'm still hoping Pakistan bags bronze in field hockey), I think you'll agree that getting off the wall is exactly what we need. Here they are:

"Globalization has brought many multinational corporations to India; with their immense wealth, they should be willing to formally 'adopt' talented athletes. Or the Indian government could make it obligatory for MNCs to sponsor athletes; in turn, the athletes would endorse their products. The government may also provide a 5-8% tax break for the sponsoring MNCs." Nandeesh Madapadi

"We need a marketing mechanism for sports: road shows, TV campaigns, a full- blown media blitz. We need to get people by the horde to watch sport--just as they watch movies." Dhirendra

"We should hire the best coaches from countries suffering from financial problems. Russia and many East European countries have top coaches but no money to retain them. These coaches are looking to move to greener pastures and we must jump into the market aggressively." Raidu

"Nutrition is the key. Most of the South Asian diet is high in carbohydrates and low on protein. We should encourage our pharmaceutical companies to set up joint ventures with overseas companies to make energy--and performance-boosting products. Since most of the Indians do not eat meat, they should substitute with dietary and vitamin supplements--and lots of exercise. This is the key to success against those well-fed Westerners." Venky R. Gangu

"There should be school- and college-level leagues for all sports. And players from these leagues should be selected to professional league teams. Companies should sponsor these games. There should also be a lot of TV coverage of these events--on ESPN, Zee TV, Doordarshan and others. There should be an effort to improve this coverage to make it more professional and glamorous. The sense of achievement and the winning instinct can be generated from the glamour associated with sports." Shashank Rohatagi

P.S: I'm off on a week's leave. Subcontinental Drift will return Oct. 12. But the bulletin board will remain open at all hours, so keep your comments coming.

The Subcontinental Drift message board -- sound-off about the news in South Asia to TIME
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