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

Multimedia In US, Decision Expected Soon in Racially Charged Case

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid