18 January 2010

Foreign training

Nepali athletes are racking-up frequent flyer miles as they are being dispatched across Asia to further their training for the South Asian Games. Sending athletes for foreign training is virtually a minimum requirement for sports associations these days. Even low profile sports that have no shot at a medal are mustering the resources (usually through grants from the National Sports Council) to send their sportsmen abroad.

The priorities of some of these sports associations are questionable. Many of them fail to organize regular competitions and events domestically, but are insistent that their athletes must have access to international training. Would not the money made available for foreign excursions be much better spent if it was used to develop their sport domestically first?

Ironically, getting NSC to release money for domestic purposes might be a lot tougher than receiving one big fat check to send a few athletes abroad, but that is where sports officials need to wheel and deal to earn their stripes.

The international exposure from foreign tours certainly has many short and long term benefits – there is no denying that. By going abroad athletes have access to better training facilities, the opportunity to learn modern/different techniques, and the experience of travelling and facing foreign competition. But you have to learn to walk before you can run and many sports associations in Nepal need to do a lot more at home before venturing abroad.