Editorial Articles

Volume-47, 17-23 February, 2018


Khelo India : Creating Career Opportunities in Sports

Santosh Koshy Joy

 The Indian sportswagon Khelo India has been flagged off and is zooming on the fast track of career opportunities. Are you embarking on this world of possibilities is the question which beckons every youngster in the country today. While budding sports stars toil it hard on the ground, an equally concerted effort is required off the field to support and make the sporting revolution in the country truly happen. From data analysis to sports medicine, the coming days will herald a plethora of career opportunities as an offshoot of Khelo India. 

The week gone by saw beaming young athletes from various schools in India at the victory podium in the Khelo India School Games in the National Capital. The event was the first occasion of the fructification of the renewed and focused efforts of the government to develop sports as a career and future in this country of a billion plus people of which a large majority are young people. 

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically stated that ‘Khelo India’ was “not merely a program but a mission to instill sports as a priority area of engagement” for the people of India. Government is committed to take the message of the importance of sports to every family and make it part of the educational ecosystem.

The best performers from the Khelo India School Games are slated to be nurtured as an India prospect for international games at the highest level. But there is more than what meets the eye, the week gone by has seen the seeding of sports as an opportunity in more than one ways. On the field, off the field and in the hearts and minds of this billion plus country, if Khelo India germinates as a passion and mission as Prime Minister has echoed in his words, a world of career opportunities await for everyone.

The good part of the story is that unlike in the past, this time promotion of sports seems not just on papers but people are coming out to unequivocally endorse the sportswagon which nation has embarked upon. While you read this, the Khelo India pledge has crossed the one million mark and people from all walks of life are coming out in support of the sports movement in the country.

What makes a good career in sports related vocations are the same attributes which makes a good sportsperson. The basic qualities of an individual in demand to pursue a career in sports related fields-  physical ability, sporting flair and mental ability. While we discuss this, we must also be aware that the sports professionals we are preparing will not just cater to the domestic needs but a skilled sporting career enthusiast will be in high demand internationally. Infact, the ever increase global demand of allied sports career enthusiast can only be met if campaigns like Khelo India take roots in a world’s largest democracies with a considerable young and energetic population. Let us discuss career related to sports one by one:


First and foremost career in sports in of course on the field as a sportsperson. Career in the field is not just rewarding while you are playing, but it also gives a roaring career off the field after your premium performance years. Former sportsperson are preferred over others to imanage and execute sports events and to organize and motivate teams. To pursue career in a particular sport or athletic activity as a profession, training for it takes precedence over everything else. One is expected to pursue a strict training regimen under the expert guidance of a coach and back it up with a wholesome diet and a well calibrated daily routine. 


With the renewed emphasis of the government in sports and scholarships and institutional support for budding sports enthusiasts flowing in, parents are expected to give greater significance to engage their wards to be trained in the field of sports. And this training requires lakhs of coaches and mentors to guide the young stars to glory. Schools are realizing the importance of physical activity and the vacancies for physical trainers in campuses will shoot up like never before in history. The fact is also supported by the trend that now parents are preferring to send their wards to schools which caters a wholesome curriculum. Coaching career will be great demand in the coming days. Without a good coach, the dreams of an athlete in the field are destined to be a non-starter and hence a career as a mentor is here to stay. A good coach will be a premium commodity in demand.


Those of our young people who have a flair for writing and speaking may now explore a newer avenue in India, Sports. Writing and commenting in sports will boom like never before in the days to come. Unlike in the past, the latest sporting revolution Khelo India is happening in a digital communication age and every achievement, endorsement, moment and memory need to be captured and presented to the wider world through the advanced communication medium. This will require lakhs of communication experts in the field of sports with skills sets different from a regular journalist. We all grew up watching and listening former cricket stars doubling up as commentators and columnists, but it is going to change because now communication has expanded beyond the live telecast and ceremonial appearances. Sports journalism and presentation is a highly rewarding career and people are in high demand. The likes of IPL and other leagues are increasing with every passing day. The sports arena is demanding communication wizards. Are you one of them?

SPORTS AESTHETICS:              

Sports photography was just one of many beats in the bureau till recent times. Today visual element in sports is so intense that good photographers and cameraperson in sports are in high demand. It is now a niche field, and one who masters the art of visualizing sports through the lens can be assured of a highly paid career. Beyond photography and videography, sports aesthetics today is a wider umbrella of career which envisages right from designing to delivering a communication capsule for any event. Events in each corner of the earth has a global audience. Indian Soccer League has fan followings in Europe and so does Europeans league have its dedicated audience in India or China. Presenting these events aesthetically and best possible way to the global audience is a challenge which organizers come across and it will require young minds to take up sports aesthetics and visualization as a career.

Besides having an aesthetic sense, an sports photographer should have thorough  knowledge about the sports. Sports photographers are always in demand, mainly when major sports events are held.


While more and more people in the country enter the sports genre, it will require more consultants to take up the career in sports consultations in health, fitness, nutrition and medicine. The current level of engagement of health and wellness professional in India in the field of sports is near to negligible and the field is wide open for anyone to enter. The days of the neighborhood gym as just a center of body building may soon be a passé. Experts who can advise and guide youngsters to a strict physical fitness off the field and on the field will be in high demand. Injuries in the field are obvious and unavoidable and we would need lakhs of sports medicine professionals in the coming days. The demand in this stream is already very high and the supply is abysmally poor. Infact its not just in sports, with the renewed stress on healthy living and fitness, parents now want their ward to take up personalized fitness programs to sharpen their mind and keep their young family member fit, fine and fearless.


Every game requires a referee or an umpire. More people play, we require more of these adjudicators and it is a specialized job since it requires thorough knowledge of the rules of the game one is refereeing. Khelo India mission will require lakhs of such professionals to carry out the  games and sports in accordance with rules and regulations. The sports will be have to government impeccably to let it sustain and bloom and it will require better managers and organizers of different games.


Sports clubs will start mushrooming like never before and big corporates will use the opportunity to step in and be part of the whole movement. Corporate fields largely require its own branding and advertisement and what better way to brand itself than to be part of a genre which effects the young and potential future minds. While corporates start engaging themselves in big way in the world of sports in India, it will require thousands of bright managers to materialize the corporate goals. Business management will soon have sports management as one of its integral entity and it will require exclusive professionals in the field.


Sporting innovations and evolution will happen when advancements happen with the sporting equipment.  Manufacturing of cutting edge sports goods is next big to happen as a by product of the Khelo India movement. People with experience in sports manufacturing and designs will in high demand and newer agencies are likely take up sports goods manufacturing in a big way under start-up India program. Sports equipment field will be a dedicated stream of career and professionals will be sought after.


We in the age of Big Data and the data scientist is taking over the controls of the decision making and evolution in every walk of our lives. Sports is not untouched from this either. Predictive modeling and optimization of performances with the help of data is already in and it here to stay and expand like never before. A big data scientist is one understands how to integrate multiple systems and data sets. In sports, data influences performance and strategic decisions in coaching. Data repositories and maintenance of it will be an activity will be not just beneficial but will result in lucrative returns.

The streams of allied sports careers listed here is neither exhaustive not sufficient to map the plethora of opportunities which India is sitting on. We are on the threshold of a beautiful future which will dotted with laurels on the ground and excellence beyond the ground. The shining successes on the ground will requires millions of minds off the ground to manage it and make the revolution happen. While inaugurating the Khelo India school games in Delhi last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly said that India is destined to be on top in every field and the confidence of this comes from the talent and confidence of the young people of this great nation.

(The Author is Senior Journalist based in New Delhi; e-mail- joy.anidelhi@gmail.com)