Although I was a huge follower of 'Cricket', I used to wonder why it was only Cricket and cricketers that would get the money and attention at every step in India. It was easier for me to imagine seeing the players from other sports getting the similar attention of the nation; but at the same time, it was extremely difficult for me to believe that it would happen in the recent times. It was before around five years that the above said used to come into my thoughts. But today, if I think about it, I can say confidently that the day is not too far when the sports personalities from the other sports start getting the payments they need and the attention they deserve.
According to me, this change is made possible by the various sports leagues that have been getting organized in India since few years now. The belief of the sponsors behind all these sports leagues must be applauded. As I remember it, it all started with the Indian Premier League's stupendous success in 2008. IPL took the standards and confidence of the cricketers to a next level. The franchise owners and sponsors got benefited beyond the expectations. At the same time, IPL's success inspired a few people who then started thinking of organizing similar leagues in a few other games.
One after the other, the leagues started in various other sports. Some of them turned out to be magnanimous. One of such was Pro-Kabaddi, which had seen tremendous response from the audiences in its inaugural season itself. The success of this league was not just the success of its sponsors and franchise owners, rather, it was the success of the years of desperation the Kabaddi players had undergone until the start of the league. Indian Badminton League had its ups and downs, but over all, it was too an apt one to have got conducted amidst the winning streak of Indian badminton players on the world stages. Later to this league, there have been a lot of memorable successes of the Indian Badminton players in the tournaments around the globe.
Indian Super League, which came with a caption "Let's Football", was yet another great hit in its inaugural season. A lot of celebrities got involved in the campaigning of this league. The reason could be anything, be it the involvement of some of the celebrities themselves in the franchises or be it the money-flow that was involved in the campaigning, the ISL ultimately came out as a star-studded show. And this league has its own impact on the younger generation. A lot of kids are now a days seen joining the football coaching camps in summers, which was the scenario earlier with cricket. Soccer is the most watched and loved game in the world. If the Indians can make their mark in such a sport, it will be good to experience. Hockey India League tried its best to bring back the old glory of the sport in India. To some extent, it's been successful I'd say. Somehow, in spite of it being our national game, it's becoming difficult for Hockey to see the light of the day. One day, hopefully, it shall be back with a bang! International Premier Tennis League and Pro-Wrestling League India have been the latest ones in the recent years. These are expected to be the winners, over a period of time.
Except Tennis, Badminton and Wrestling leagues, where the population of the women players is formidable, all the other leagues have been restricted to men still. Pro-Kabaddi and Hockey Indian League fully deserve to get immediately extended to let women play, where women teams have been consistently performing on the world stage, like the men's teams. Cricket, even though the most watched sport in India in the current times, still is too backwards in terms of encouraging women players. Rather, the male cricketers are getting more than deserving attention, which is eventually making the women players look too far away from the glory. I pity BCCI, the big one that they say, in this respect. They must work upon the game for women as well. Just like cricket, football as well is studded by men stars around the globe. Inspite of being the most watched, women are not yet into it. Anyway, there as well encouraging women is going to make it further interesting. Personally, I would love to watch Indian Athletics League getting succeeded. I like watching Athletics, especially the 'relay' event. It just gets into me, somehow. Well, a lot of work has to be done in Athletics in India I guess.
Having said all that, I must admit to the fact that every league, except of cricket, in India is at the moment in its primitive stage. Yet, each one of it has been very efficient in a way that it gets the sport closer to masses. To people. To sports lovers. To sports worshipers. To players and their parents. This is a very good sign for the future of all these sports in India. Olympics are round the corner now in 2016 at Rio. Its expected that the number of medals will be improved compared to the last London games. Going forward, with the success of a lot leagues and professionalism getting sunk in almost every game in India in the form of leagues, I believe, the scenario changes a lot and so as our country's position in the medals tally in all big sport stages. Looking forward for that day!