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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora