News / Asia

Aspiring Olympians in India Get Grassroots Help

Aspiring Olympians in India Get Grassroots Helpi
X
December 04, 2013 4:35 PM
Despite having one of the world’s largest economies, India spends less than one percent of its budget on sports. Indians who aspire to compete on a global level often say they do not have the support they need to do so. Aru Pande has more on a grassroots foundation trying to make up the difference.
Aru Pande
Despite having one of the world’s largest economies, India spends less than one percent of its budget on sports. Indians who aspire to compete on a global level often say they do not have the support they need to do so. One grassroot foundation is trying to make a difference, one athlete at a time.
 
The love of sports

Every day, before and after school, Julie Yadav can be found on a field in the northern city of Lucknow, training for her next race. “There isn’t a proper track or enough space.  Despite that, my coach helps me practice as much as I can," she said. "Allowing me to compete at the state level.”
 
The 15-year-old competed and won a silver medal in the 400-meter race in Uttar Pradesh - India’s impoverished and most populous state with more than 200 million people.
 
She credits the Sparsh Sports Development Foundation with giving her the financial support and training needed to take her love for running to the next level.
 
Ajeet Verma, a World Cup cross country silver medalist, started the Lucknow-based foundation in 2010.  He uses part of his income as a railway worker to foster youngsters who show potential in everything from track and field to volleyball.
 
“The only sport that is being promoted in India is cricket.  There is no marketing or management for athletes taking part in other sports," Verma stated. "This is necessary.  Without this type of support, athletes have to worry about getting a job to support themselves.”
 
This lack of support is reflected in the fact that India has only won a total of 26 medals in all Olympic Games.  Compare that to neighboring China, with over 500 medals - 88 in last year’s London Olympics alone.  Analysts say unlike other countries, India lacks the financial and institutional support, infrastructure and a culture that fosters athletic talent at a young age.
 
Coach Manjeet Singh said the lack of funding for sports at the grassroots level can be seen in the absence of athletic facilities and even basic equipment like mats, hurdles and medicine balls.

Preparing for greatness

Singh, who coaches at a local school, spends his free time volunteering with the foundation to give youngsters the opportunity he said he never had as a track and field athlete.  “When I was at my peak, athletically, there was no coach to help me. I used to do all the repetitions myself, there was no one to guide me,” he recalled.
 
He now spends his afternoons guiding athletes like Yadav, who has big dreams for her future.  “I want to compete in the Olympics, that is my one hope and for that I need support,” she explained.
 
For now, Sparsh, which means "touch" in Hindi, tries to fill in the gap, hoping that the government and Indian society as a whole will recognize the importance of the country’s excellence in a sport other than cricket.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ashique Ahmed
December 05, 2013 10:54 AM
All the very best for SPARSH for it's initiatives!


by: Ajit verma from: Lucknow
December 04, 2013 3:06 PM
thanks aru and voa for support ssdf and me

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid