Having an in-depth conversation about sports and how improvements can be bought forth can more often than not turn out to be disappointing; the reason being that the discussion generally keeps floating in predictable space where the obvious issues are unnecessarily dissected and no point of real value is made. In that context, a recent conversation with Mr. Hakim S Habibulla, a former Olympian at 2000 Sydney Olympics and the co-founder of Winning Matters, has been pretty encouraging.
|Mr Hakim Habibulla (R) putting his views across.|
Contribution is about bringing something new to the table, and Mr. Habibulla certainly introduced a fresh perspective to the discussion. Speaking right after his session at the critical yet educative keynote on “Corporatization in Sports”, he cited the likes of Google and Microsoft to be followed in terms of hiring standards and practices and opined that for federations to be effective, it is important that the workforce at the helm is well-versed with the obstacles and have an outlook to meet the challenges. For that to happen, the selection criteria in place should be focused on appointing the best individuals for the job and take any preference or bias out of the equation. An efficient federation will help regulate the directives, invest where it is important and facilitate achieving success which might have been out of the question before.
The dispensable state of the athlete (cricket being the exception) in India is in stark contrast to that of the coveted hero in other countries. Appointing the cream of the crop on a sports federation panel will ensure that the administrative side of affairs is efficient and result-oriented so that the attention is primarily on the on-field performances rather than the matters off it.
In short, it is about creating a sporting environment that breeds successful athletes by the numbers. That is the motivation behind him co-founding “Winning Matters” consulting where the long term aim is to get India into the top 3 countries in Olympics and enable around a billion people to enjoy playing sports by 2024. With an outlook as progressive and refreshingly encouraging as Mr. Habibulla, it wouldn't be surprising if he achieves what he intends to!