Sunday, March 14, 2010

Games get a reality twist

This summer, get ready for the biggest reality programme ever to hit your TV screens—the Commonwealth Games talent-hunt show.

The organisers of the showpiece event, now just six months away, are in talks with TV channels to produce a reality show based on a hunt to find the next sporting superstars hidden in the country’s nooks and corners.

The nationwide search will have most of the Olympic sports, mainly outdoor ones, and involve teams from CGW organisers with local sports authorities to hold trials in your neighbourhoods in four corners of the country.

“It will bring India’s present champion athletes closer to the people. It will invite everyone to come and play. And it will help identify the future talent,” Suresh Kalmadi, chairman, CWG Organising Committee, said.

This will not only fish out the unknown athletes but also turn the whole process —from trials to selections to finals—into a daily fix of reality TV, complete with behind-the-scenes drama.

Everyone can participate, irrespective of age and background. Only the winners in each category will clear the various selection levels.

“The Games will leave a legacy of the Olympic sports in a land of cricket and more cricket,” he said.

The winners will get cash rewards, and they will also be picked up by the sports authority for coaching and training.

Apart from being a people-connect venture ahead of the Commonwealth Games, the talent hunt will also be a huge money-spinner for the organisers, who will earn revenue from TV rights and other sources.

Those who have witnessed similar sporting ventures in the past warned of the infamous sarkaari apathy affecting the cause. “While it is a good move by the OC, the talents that emerge out of it should continue to get patronage in the long run,” said Madhumita Bisht, a Padma Shri and Arjun Award recipient and nine times national champion in badminton. “Talent does not lie only in winners but in losers as well. I hope the organisers of the show keep that in mind.”

If all goes well, it will launch by early May.

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