Issue of 1 March 2016


Gujarat receives FICCI Award for ‘Best State Promoting Sports’

In the recently concluded India Sports Awards (23–24 Feb 2016), FICCI awarded the state of Gujarat as the ‘Best State Promoting Sports.

Well what’s so unique about this? There are so many different ‘Awards’ these days that one really wonders that this could be one of the most boring of all those; one it is in the area of Sports, which itself is only a small industry compared to say Finance or Telecom, and second the recipient is a state and not some celebrity or a large business house or an exciting startup. On the contrary, it is exactly the opposite. In pure entrainment value, it certainly may not be the most entertaining award or award night, but here’s a take on why the award certainly is most interesting:

  1. Acknowledgement of the role Government can play in fuelling growth by a USD 2 billion industry
  2. That a state machinery can work like a corporate, and even better like an exciting startup with the right leadership and become a celebrity
  3. The award is a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ clearly sending a message that excellence in sports is not only tantamount to ‘winning medals’ but equally also to putting the structure that nurtures enablers for that ultimate prize

The above take is particularly noteworthy in light of the following facts:

  • Gujarat, a hitherto laggard at national level, when it comes to sports, won 10 Gold Medals and stood 9th overall for the first time in the history of last many years of the games
  • First state to implement state wide District Level Sports Schools (DLSS); in the last 2 years alone 16 such schools have been established with close to 1000 talented children identified and provided admissions across 18 different Olympic disciplines
  • First state to implement state wide sports broadbasing program that is bringing 200,000 children across 200 schools to play and experience different Olympic sports
  • Khel Mahakumbh – it’s quintessential mass sports program has already seen six summers (or rather winters, as it is held in Nov-Dec every year); the latest edition registering a mammoth 40 lac participants!
  • This award was won when competing nominations included the traditional sporting hubs of India – Haryana, Kerala and Manipur
  • That Sportseed is the consulting and implementation partner in the District Level Sports Schools program, a first across the country, is a trivia!



    Rugby 7s – can it be popular in schools in India?

    What T20 is to cricket, Rugby 7s is to Rugby. For a novice, this sums it all. Faster pace, smaller time frame (2 halves of 7 mins each instead of 40 minutes each), same sized pitch (hence lot of space to run and better fitness), more scores try (equivalent of goal).

    Why it features in this edition of our magazine is that it is the newest entrant to the Olympics, at Rio 2016. Given the popularity or lack of it with Indian masses, let’s do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat) analysis for it to be part of school sports education programs in schools across India.


    • No specific infrastructure requirements; an existing school playfield is good to start
    • In the beginning, requires low ‘technical’ skills and plays well with children’s instinct of chasing


    • Low on popularity, both in penetration and choice across schools
    • Misconception of it being a high injury sport, not suitable to be considered inclusive (say, for Girls)


    • Limited participants and hence faster progression of teams through the ranks in any tournament
    • Included in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) calendar; successfully completed the nationals for U-19 and U-17 (Girls and Boys) in 2015. U-19 alone had 255 schools from 70 districts and 9 states participating. Odisha emerging national champions in both Girls & Boys category in the 61st National School Games


    • No history to back up the potential
    • Cricket in urban schools and Kabaddi in rural ones

Catch ’em Young!

Young achievers across different sports


Jisna Mathew (Athletics)

PT USHA – The legend needs no introduction

Tintu Luka – Is already perhaps the best in Asia. Will she be India’s next Usha?

Jisna Mathew – India’s pursuit for the Olympic Gold

That the above three appear to be related, is a good guess. Usha the mentor and Tintu the perennial resilient trooper for higher achievement in the world of athletics. What’s special about Jisna is that she is perhaps ‘The Cindrella Man’ representing the hope of a nation that has not yet won an Olympic medal in Athletics.

At 16, she has already broken many of Tintu’s records at various levels and recently won Silver in 400 m at the Asian Youth Athletics Championships 2015 in Doha; her best is already a stunning 53.84 s. Usha has been talking big on her potential to be multi-event athlete – from 200 m sprints to 800 m endurance gruel.




SPorts EDucation UPdate on leading practices


Arunima Sinha

In this section we have been bringing you Sports Education updates and leading practices in this space as observed and relevant for schools. This time though, we thought to feature Arunima Sinha.

Arunima who?

The first female amputee Mountain Climber to scale Mount Everest, and the first Indian amputee to do so.

Yes – while there are no leading Sports Education practices for schools in this, there certainly can’t be a better example of Sports Education.

Arunima actually scaled Mount Everest in 2013 and that’s now old news. But we feature her in this edition, due to her being named as one amongst four Indians in Asian Under-30 list of Top Sportspersons under age 30, released by Forbes. At Rank#19, she has for company Virat Kohli, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal in the list. Some may argue that while her achievement is incredible, does it still come close to the other three. Here’s a quick look at her bio-data:

  • National Level Volleyball player
  • Survivor of freak incident where she got thrown from a train while fighting goons in a train, who tried to steal valuables from her; got a train run over her left leg which had to be amputated and right leg with multiple fractures had to be inserted with an iron rod
  • Climbed Mt. Everest in 2013; followed by conquering a campaign to climb highest peaks in all continents; has already climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Kosizko, Australia and Aconcagua in Argentina
  • Received Padma Shri, Tenzing Norgay awards
  • Has a best-selling autobiographical sports book; Born Again on Mountain
  • Runs Arunima Foundation ( and Azad Viklang Khel Academy (

Is there a better example of Sports Education? Her volleyball gave her the ability to:

  • Enjoy her effort, rather than thinking about the disability
  • Being fair, to herself in putting the required effort and to others by setting up the above mentioned initiatives
  • Live respectfully, making sports a part of her lifestyle
  • Pursue excellence despite the odds; and
  • Maintain balance between her body, will and mind to achieve what she did

Wish all schools bring these Olympic Values of education, that Arunima is demonstrating, to the in-school sports education programs!