“Sundays with Purav” is a 11 part series in collaboration with our very own, Purav Raja. Through his first hand experience of competing on the ATP Tour, Purav aims to educate Indian tennis parents, fans, and community, in general, about what our country needs to do to be called a sporting nation

People say the West has much better genetics and conditions to produce better athletes compared to us. While this might be true, why don’t we do the best we can, rather than finding reasons for our poor athletic ability.

Those of you who have spent time with me will know I am far from a health freak. However, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that any of our local Indian security forces should probably not be eating samosas and onion bhajias as an everyday snack. These are the same people that maintain security within our area and enforce discipline in our cities. After a couple of samosas, do you think he will be able to run behind a thief at full speed or have the athletic ability to stop any crime? Probably not!

The same theory applies with sport in India as well. Each parent & coach is coming up with their own nutritional theory to make a sportsman. I have literally heard everything – from putting gulkand(pan masala) in water for a perfect electrolyte drink, to eating chicken wings during matches to replenish the protein loss. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a science created for this and there is a reason why professional world class champions drink and eat what they do. I know cheese sandwich and Maaza is easy to make for kids and tastes great, but it has not made any grand slam champion.

Considering that we already know that we do not have the genes and lack the fitness ability, I think it’s imperative for us to provide all our future athletes with perfectly planned diets. It is equally important to educate parents on what their child needs in his or her diet to achieve optimum results. And this is no trial and error process, but a proven formula that works. I guess the main blame has to go to the poor knowledge of nutrition in our country as we should be on top of this game and know from the back of our hand what exactly is needed for each sport. Every athlete should be scientifically tested between ages 8-18 every year and diets should be made specially for his/her needs. We are trying to build human specimens to compete against the world – not average children to win inter school /district or local under 12 events. Let’s make sports a world class profession in India and not just a hobby that keeps our children fit.

The rest of the world is laughing, while we waste our country’s talent eating samosas, bhel puri and formulating their own genius sporting diets for champions. They now know there are a billion people that have very little or no scope of being the sporting stars of tomorrow. I think it’s time to let go of our ego and learn from people who know more than us. Be the change you want to see!

Impossible is nothing. Thank you 🙂

Purav Raja

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