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Make sport in India a viable career option: Gavaskar

March 25, 2009 16:50 IST

Former batting ace Sunil Gavaskar says India will progress a lot on the sports front if every Olympic discipline is turned into a viable career option.

"In the last Olympics, in 2008, we (India) had a gold medal in shooting. Of course, (Abhinav) Bindra was fortunate to have access to personal and family resources and was able to spend on training; we had two other individual medals also," Gavaskar said.

"But this has been really a hit and miss thing. If you make every sport in our country a viable career option you will see the difference. I think India will blast through medals," Gavaskar said, addressing a 400-odd audience at the 13th annual Wharton India Economic forum, in Philadelphia.

"I think that is the challenge before the national sports federations," Gavaskar said.

"The challenge is to make people accountable; the challenge (to make) all other sports a great career option and that will get Indians gold medals everywhere," he added.

Gavaskar, who along with former India tennis ace Vijay Amritraj and eight-time World billiards champion Geet Sethi brought the house the down with their witty comments, went down memory lane as he complimented Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team on beating New Zealand in the first Test in Hamilton.

"It is a happy day today. It has been 33 years [since we won in New Zealand]. Last time we did that was in 1977," he said, adding that in that match he was originally the vice-captain, but was told to take charge by Polly Umrigar because captain B S Bedi pulled a muscle.

Suman Guha Mozumder