Bengaluru, Sep 20: 'Making Sport in India,' a panel discussion involving cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar, Jitu Virwani - Chairman & Managing Director of Embassy Group and Founder of the Embassy International Riding School (EIRS), Badminton star Aparna Popat, Kamal Bali, President and Managing Director, Volvo Group India and well-known cricket scribe Suresh Menon, discussed the path towards a sports revolution in India.
Moderated by Ashwini Nachappa, India's ace sprinter and founder of Ashwini's Sports Foundation (ASF) based in Coorg, the panellists weighed in on topics including the challenges to creating a robust grassroots program for identifying and nurturing talent, and the need to reignite the love for the sport in school.
The forum, a joint initiative of Embassy Group and Ashwini's Sports Foundation, also focused on the growing trend of the private funding of sport through competitive leagues, investments in state-of-the-art infrastructure and providing world-class training based on best practices arising from a better understanding of the science of performance.
Two such organizations presented their efforts - ASF, which concentrates its efforts on Athletics, Hockey and Shooting, and EIRS, based in Bengaluru, which focuses on equestrian sports. Recently, EIRS had major success when Fouaad Mirza, an equestrian rider and Arjuna Awardee, who trains at the school, won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games. He is now working to qualify at the Olympics with an eye on the medal finish.
ASF, founded in 2010, has several athletes in track & field, hockey, and shooting competing at the national level. ASF is a Khelo India Academy for Athletics, which provides training to talent identified under the Khelo India program. Partnering with various corporates, the Foundation boasts state of the art sporting facilities and technology that enhances performance across sporting disciplines.
Ashwini Nachappa, Founder of ASF, said 'It is wonderful that we got to host a discussion around an area that has so much potential for growth in our developing country. Sport has a great future - it is through the passionate efforts of individuals and private organizations such as ours that we can focus on our efforts to create champions. Sport must begin at a young age in school.
Ashwini's Sports Foundation currently hosts a school on campus called KALS, where sport and academics go together. Talented children are then identified and nurtured through ASF. I want to thank Jitu Virwani and Embassy for providing us with a terrific platform to tell our story. I hope those keen on supporting sport will come forward to help our program thrive and prosper."
Jitu Virwani, Chairman & Managing Director of Embassy Group and Founder of EIRS, added, "When we first set up the Equestrian Academy back in 1996, we realized that while there is immense sports talent in India, it is not being brought to the forefront owing to several gaps. This can be bridged with corporates coming forward to help cultivate diverse sports talent in India, through collaborations with the Government and Private Institutions such as Ashwini's Sports Foundation.
"Our journey and success in the 2018 Asian Games is a template for how other sports in India can reach milestones and shine across International platforms. Channelizing the CSR mandates of corporates towards sports will bring about an advancement in this field for the country. In Equestrian, we are now gearing up for the Olympics 2020 and confident that we will set another landmark in this sport."
The event was attended by 20 Bangalore corporates who were encouraged to consider funding of sport in their CSR efforts, especially those of non-profit private academies focused on creating excellence in their chosen sport. The event was an initiative of Embassy Office Park's Corporate Connect Program, which aims to bring together Business Park tenants and other corporates with like-minded Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandates, and experienced non-profits to address a diverse number of challenges faced in society.
This event was the 6th in a series of round tables and forums called the Embassy Engage Series that provides platforms for corporates to deliberate on a variety of social challenges.
Source: Press Release