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Billiards not cricket defines India's sporting identity: Geet Sethi

Written by: Staff

Hyderabad, Mar 23 (UNI) Former World Professional Billiards Champion Geet Sethi believes cricket might be a national obssession but it does not define the country's sporting identity.

Instead ''Billiards, which has given the country 18 world titles provides the sporting identity for the country,'' Sethi said.

Sethi also called for the privatisation of of all the sports bodies in the country so as to ensure ''a bagful of medals at the Beijing Olympics.'' ''Privatisation is needed not just in Industrial sector but in every sphere of activity, including sports, arts, culture and education for the country to become a superpower'', he said at the Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) public session on ''collaborate-innovate and inspire for sustainable growth and competitiveness'' last night.

Sethi said the BCCI was one of the most professionally run bodies and has been doing well.

''Let the government hold 51 per cent stake in sports federations and allow private companies eager to associate with related sports, participating in equity, to pump in large amounts for sports promotion,'' he said.

Recalling his first experience in the Olympics in 1998, while India's sports budget at that time was only Rs 110 crore, China's budget was 110 times more and the difference reflected in the medals tally between the two asian neighbours, he said, stressing that there was a strong co-relation between investment and results.

''If we continue to run sports bodies with federations, whose presidents stay in office for decades, country cannot develop as a great sporting nation,'' he said.

Sethi said we have several outstanding sportspersons, including, chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand, who has inspired innumerable chess players in the country.


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