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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid