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While the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in shelving active sports across the globe, ELMS Sports Foundation bolstered initiatives at grassroot-level training among Indian schools and trained more than 10,000 Physical Education teachers from all over the country, thereby strongly implementing the vision of physical literacy further.

While the entire country was coming to terms with the sudden lockdown, ELMS Sports Foundation was quick to adapt and convert the on-ground training program into online training sessions for Physical Education teachers of government schools around the country along with education departments from the states of Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Tripura, and Jharkhand.

“I am humbly grateful to all the teachers who have attended the six-module foundation program for their association with ELMS Sport in this mission to give a quality Physical Literacy Experience to the children,” said Vita Dani, co-founder of ELMS.

While expressing his gratitude to all Physical Education gurus, who are the first point of contact for a kid to be introduced to sports and physical literacy in the country, mentor of ELMS and badminton legend Pullela Gopichand said: “Let us come together to ensure that even the last five children in a class receive quality physical literacy experience and embrace it for life. This is a vital moment as we move towards our goal of empowering Physical Education teachers with the right knowledge and support to get optimal results for their efforts. This promises to be an exciting moment for all involved. In order to make India a sporting nation, this mission should reach each and every citizen of the country.”

Another mentor of ELMS is Olympic champion shooter Abhinav Bindra, who added, “This will be the first step we will be taking towards imparting modern techniques and practices at the grassroots level. This project promises to impact not only the students in schools but also millions of students the PE teachers will train after school.”

Extending its reach, the team at ELMS has also collaborated with several educational institutions and Physical Education Teachers Associations to conduct these programs in states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Punjab. The online program consisted of more than 300 online sessions with each session’s duration being two hours.

Navdeep in action. Photo Credit: LOC Fazza

Promising Para-athletes Navdeep and Arvind secured two quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as India’s gold medal tally swelled to nine after the third day of competitions at the 12th Fazza International Championships – Dubai 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix here.

Overall, India has claimed 17 medals with nine gold including four from Friday.

Friday evening was lit up by brilliant shows from Indian men Javelin throwers –reigning world champion Sandeep Chaudhary (F44), Ajeet Singh (F46) and Navdeep (F41), who were later joined by Pranav Prashant Desai with a yellow metal in men’s 200m F64.

Meanwhile, world champion Javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar (F46) had to be satisfied with the bronze.

Navdeep, whose first international event was the 2017 Asian Youth Para Games also in Dubai, produced a brilliant throw of 43.58m in his third attempt to take the gold in Men’s javelin F41 event. UAE’s Anas Alhosani (6.96 m) ended second.   

“I felt confident with my throw today. My first throw wasn’t very good, but then I tried to focus and got a good throw. Sandeep bhaiya and Navdeep Sir have been helping me with my technique at JN Stadium in New Delhi,” said the former World junior champion who had to compete with a new Javelin owing to late submission of his own Javelin.  

“I am very happy to also secure a quota. I want to win a medal at the Tokyo Paralympic now.”

Meanwhile, Arvind attained the Minimum Qualification Standard with a distance of 14.05 m men’s shot out final F35/36. He finished fifth in the event.

Nice feeling to be back in Dubai grounds

In Men’s Javelin 38/F42/ F44/ 63/ 64, Chaudhary hurled the javelin to a distance of 61.22 metres, though much less than his world record effort of 66.18m at the Dubai 2019 Worlds at the same ground, but was enough to take the gold.

He was better than Columbia’s Luis Fernan Lucumi Villegas (54.95 m), who set a new American record, and Chaminda Hetti Arachchige of Sri Lanka (56.34 m).

 “It’s a nice feeling to return to one of my favourite grounds. My body felt good to compete after a long time. But I was hoping to get my personal best today. Nevertheless, to open the season with over 61m distance is not bad.

“In the coming months, it will be more about following the process and staying in shape before we start our final preparation for the Tokyo 2020,” said Chaudhary.

Ajeet Singh sent the spear to a distance of 58.76 m to finish ahead of Sri Lanka’s Gamini Ketawala (58.55 m) and fellow Indian Gurjar (57.74 m) in Men’s Javelin F46 final.

For Ajeet, this was his third international medal in thrid competition. “I am very happy to compete in an international event after long time. But I am not to satisfied with my performance today. I expected to throw at least 58 metres. I will go back and work on my technique now,” said the Gwalior born Para athlete, who clinched his first international gold medal in 2019 China Grand Prix.

Later, Pranav Prasant Desai added India’s fourth gold medal clocking 24.96 seconds in men’s 200m T64 to finish ahead of Thailand (25.60s) and Kazakastan’s Rufat Khabibullin (28.86s)

The third day of competitions also witnessed Italian teenager Ambra Sabatini setting a new world record en route the gold in the women’s final T62/ 63/ 64 clocking 14.59 seconds.

(L-R) Cricketer Mohammed Shami, KKFI president Sudhanshu Mittal, Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, Wrestler Sushil Kumar, Ultimate Kho Kho promoter Amit Burman, cricketer Suresh Raina and Tenzing Niyogi, CEO, UKK.

While the sporting world is still trying to find ways to make a comeback fully after the coronavirus outbreak, the Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) along with Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) is all set to uplift the skillset of its players with the introduction of a revolutionary High-Performance Assessment and Scientific Analysis & Evaluation Programme–“Rise in Sports Excellence”—for the very first time.
During a rigorous camp of almost a month, scheduled from January 18 to February 16, 138 players, including 18 women players, will be monitored by vastly experienced experts at Manav Rachna Sports Science Centre in Faridabad and SGT University in Gurugram to develop a pool of athletes who are assessed, scientifically monitored and transformed to become champions of the game.    

The Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju along with Rajeev Mehta General Secretary, IOA and popular sporting personalities like India’s individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar, only Indian to win consecutive Olympic medals, and top cricketers Suresh Raina and Mohammed Shami were present on Tuesday to inaugurate the coaching camp, where Kho Kho players have been selected from across the country for one of its kind scientific evaluation program.

The state of art expertise of the country’s top sports-tech institutes—Manav Rachna Sports Science Centre and SGT University, have been roped in to roll out this mammoth initiative.

“I have always believed sports science is the future of sports. To make India a sporting powerhouse, each sport needs to be developed, especially indigenous sports like Kho Kho which is a speed-reliant sport. The federation and Ultimate Kho Kho have done a commendable job in putting together such an exhaustive plan in such a short time. I congratulate Sudhanshuji (Mittal) as well as Amit Burman ji for lending their support. Indian sports need the backing of corporates and the presence of Amit ji surely is a step in the right direction,” said the Sports Minister Rijiju.

A 30-day camp will see players being monitored and analysed. The findings and parameters ranging from sports physiotherapy, rehabilitation, injury management, biomechanics, biokinetics, sports performance analysis, nutritional guidance and posture corrections will be put into action. The training will also mark the resumption of the sport after almost a 10-month gap. This training is compartmentalised in three phases—transition, preparatory and competitive one.  

“I would like to thank our Sports Minister, Mr Kiren Rijiju for coming here today and motivating the players. This camp will be a milestone for Sports Science and Technology in developing our players in many ways and am grateful for the support towards development by the Ministry, Sports Authority of India and Ultimate Kho Kho, our partners in this vision development. Our motive will be to create a large pool of players who can be developed into world-beaters and game ready for the upcoming challenges,” KKFI President Sudhanshu Mittal said.

The Ultimate Kho Kho has been instrumental in investing and developing this home-grown sport. Close to 200 crores investment commitment has been made by the league promoter and Dabur group Chairman, Amit Burman for the next five years. While a major share of the investment is focused on the growth and development of grassroots and initiation of this scientific programme will help to build excellence which is key for any sport and its growth, globally.

“I have always focused on thinking ahead of time and developing and promoting ideas into brands. Ultimate Kho Kho is no different as we envision excellence at the grassroots and take the game to the next level. For the game to develop it is key that we introduce technology and upgrade and tap the potentials of our players, make them champions and world beaters, backed with high performance training,” UKK Promoter Amit Burman said.
Adding on the innovations, Tenzing Niyogi, CEO, Ultimate Kho Kho said: “Kho Kho has a deep cultural connect with a massive fan base. Ultimate Kho Kho with its latent demand holds the promise of a blockbuster league. With the influx of sports science changing the dynamics of training in team sports, this camp will help develop the athletes to transform and become champions of the game. During the camp we are also planning to test a new sports technology for tag sports in order to bring ‘edge of the seat’ action for audiences.”

An exhibition match was played where sports celebrities were teamed up with the Kho Kho players as the teams rolled out the fast-paced format which played under the revamped rules that are to be introduced during the Kho Kho league, slated for end of the year. The culmination of the camp will see players participating in a five-day tournament consisting of eight teams divided into two pools where players’ speed and gameplay will also be tested along with agility and strength conditionings.

Devendra Jhajharia

Some of the country’s top Para athletes including double Paralympic gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia, two-time world champion Sundar Singh Gurjar and world no. 1 Para Badminton player Parul Parmar will participate in the 5th edition of the Cairn Pink City Half Marathon which will be held virtually between December 13-20, 2020.

Alongwith Parmar, Jhajharia and Gurjar, both Para Javelin champions, there will be seven other Para athletes competing at the marathon from different cities across the country. All these Para athletes, from Rajasthan and Gujarat, are being supported by Cairn Foundation (CF) as part of an MoU signed between the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) and CF to support the overall development of the athletes last December.

Under the theme #WEARMASKSAVELIFE, a jan andolan initiative driven by Honourable Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Shri Ashok Gehlot and supported by the Fit India movement by the Government of India, this year’s half marathon can be participated from any part of the globe using any GPS application like Nike Run, Strava, Runkeeper etc.

The virtual marathon format is also kept flexible for participants who can choose the date, time, location, route, distance, based on their convenience. Participants need to run or walk or jog using any of the listed but not limited GPRS applications to record their activity and upload the screenshot of the activity at the end of the race.

This year, the event has four categories – Half Marathon 21 km, Cool Run – 21 km, Dream Run – 5 km, Fun Run – 2km  

Said Jhajharia who will be taking part from Jaipur: “Through this marathon we want to send a message to every corner of the country—to every house, village and cities –about staying fit. The government of India’s Fit India movement will also get a major boost through this virtual marathon. Our mission is to motivate everyone, right from 8 to 80 years, to run and stay physically fit and healthy.”

Calling everyone to join the marathon, Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games bronze medallist Para athlete Sandeep Singh Maan added: “During this global Pandemic, the focus has turned to maintaining fitness. All of us have also realised how much it is important to stay physically fit to stay healthy. This year’s virtual marathon has been organised keeping these factors in mind. So, join us by registering for the event.”

One can register for free and get an e-certificate, while there’s take away goodies – medal, T. Shirt and mask besides e-certificate through paid registration.

For registration:  https://www.townscript.com/e/cairn-pink-city-half-marathon-2020-203423

Archis Patil

Esports India, a prominent member of the Global Esports Federation has announced its first ever Online National Freestyle Football Championship 2020 in collaboration with Football Freestyle India. 
 
In the current scenario of the pandemic that the world is facing, sports has taken a complete back seat. It is in light of this that Esports India is giving a platform to all the footballers to showcase their talent. The competition will be held at a National Level allowing all participants from every corner of the country to participate and be a part of this first of its kind competition.

This enables both professional and amateur footballers a platform and a sense of community in these trying times, with them coming together to compete albeit virtually. 

“Esports India is presenting a golden opportunity to Football Freestyle to show their ultimate talent at the National level. ESPORTS INDIA is first member of Global Esports Federation who has taken such an initiative to introduce sports on an online platform and we are looking forward for athletes to showcase their talent to the world.” said Amit Gaikwad, President.

Seasoned professional freestylers, such as Archis Patil, India’s top football freestyler along with other prolific names from the circuit have joined the esteemed team of judges for this competition. Alankar Tambe and Monish Nikam who also holds a world record conferred by the Guinness World Book of Records are lending their expertise and encouragement to all the athletes taking part.

“Esports have been the backbone for making the biggest online football freestyle competition possible therby giving many athletes a chance to showcase their skills at ease from home. The Global Esports Federation has taken a crucial step in laying the foundation stone for a lot of budding athletes with this online platform.This is a golden opportunity to show us what you got and Represent your passion,” said Archis Patil on his association for the tournament.

The competition will be held virtually with live telecasts on YouTube and Facebook. The registration for the competition has started since 8th of November and more than 200 footballers have signed up for this competition. the registration link is open on http://esportsindia.org/ for all who want to participate. The winners will be awarded with a cash prize and medals along with participation certificates for all those who will be a part of this competition. 

The competition is an extension of the mission started by the Global Esports
Federation of trying to develop a community for esports in India, so as to encourage more and more athletes to take part and in turn become a part of a thriving global community.

India’s apex karate organisation, Karate Association of India has appointed Yashpal Singh Kalsi as its new Sports Commission Chairman. Karate Association of India recently conducted its due elections on 23rd October 2020. It was instructed by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs & the elections were held in Guwahati, Assam.  

42-year-old Yashpal Kalsi brings a wealth of experience to Karate in India, having had a highly accomplished professional career in martial arts with over 30 years of competing as an individual and over 25 years a coach where he has coached several international champions. He has himself played for the Indian team, and most recently chaperoned his students at the Rotterdam cup, Netherlands in 2019.

“The Karate Association of India has played a central part in my life in so many ways, and to be given this opportunity to serve as its new Sports Commission Chairman is a true honour. Karate in India, and worldwide, needs passionate people who can communicate the values of the sport and help spearhead its popularity.

Having been an international athlete myself coupled with my experiences as a coach, I believe will give me the right inputs to create a favourable environment for karate as in India. I thank Karate Association of India for appointing me as a Chairman – Sport Commission.” said Yashpal Singh Kalsi.

A Certified World Karate Federation Coach, Yashpal Singh holds a Black Belt 7th Dan. He started training as a coach at Indian Martial Arts Academy in 1996. In 2004, he was appointed as the representative of Kenpo Karate in India. He is a senior member of the All India Mixed Martial Arts Association, and has been the National Team Coach for Grappling and Karate.

In his highly accomplished professional career, he has won a gold medal in the US Open Karate Championship in 2016 and two bronze medals in 2017 in the same championship. He is a Senior member of All India Mixed Martial Arts Association and Global Authority of Mixed Martial Arts Federations. He is a trained and qualified international MMA referee certified by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.

He is the head coach to some of the best MMA fighters including Seth Rosario, Priyanka Jeet Toshi, Lipika Uniyal and Sandeep Yadav. He is also a MMA judge and senior referee in the Super Fight League. He has provided training to India’s elite force, the Black Cat Commandos, works with
the Haryana State Police and is also the first Indian Karate coach to have trained athletes across multiple continents including Africa, Europe and Canada.

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics scheduled for next year, this appointment takes on more importance given that 2 more qualifying competitions are yet to be held in India.

On November 2 and November 3, 2020, Special Olympics Bharat, supported by Herbalife Nutrition, organised webinars that aimed to advance the Special Athletes to assume the role of a Coach Assistant, thereby further contributing towards both on and off-field development of the athletes.

The two days held sport-specific orientation across 13 disciplines extended by the Resource persons to about 130 Special Athletes who are the potential Coach Assistants as well as the Coaches under whose mentorship they would be placed. The sessions witnessed the distinguished presence of Air Marshal Keelor, Founder & CEO SO Bharat, Ronak Lakhani, Advisory Committee Member, Special Olympics International.

The Webinars were preceded by four sessions held in the months of September and October that explicated the roles of the three key stakeholders in this endeavor- the Athlete who would be trained to be a Coach Assistant, the Coach who would train him or her, and the Resource Person who the Coach would turn to for relevant consultations. This training program is an initiative of Victor R Vaz, National Sports Director, SO Bharat,  in collaboration with Coen Van Putten, Manager Sports, SOAP (Asia Pacific), and Jeff Lahart, Coach Development Specialist, Special Olympics International.

“I understand the role of an Athlete as against that of a Coach Assistant. I am now getting ready to take on the role of planning for the team- be it Coordination, Competitive strategies and more. I am confident that I will do it well,” says Mihir Soni, a 25-year Athlete from Mumbai (Maharashtra)and a Softball team player from the LA World Summer Games 2015.

“This program will allow leadership to blossom. It is the greatest program for the Athletes. We, as Coaches and Trainers have always wanted to upgrade the Athletes meaningfully. Now this program will grant it a structure, make the Athletes set goals for themselves and witness their own growth. It will create expanded awareness and positivity” adds Sundaresh, National Trainer from Karnataka.

Victor Vaz’s vision is to have the Athletes take a lead in the sports field, in the future. He believes there is every possibility of a Coach Assistant to turn into a Coach, with the right guidance and support.

With inputs from a press release

 Kho Kho Federation of India President Sudhanshu Mittal

Kho Kho, a traditional Indian game of ‘Tag’, is now gaining popularity among youngsters in India and with its experienced player Sarika Kale being honoured with Arjuna Award this year has led to a refreshed energy within the Kho Kho community.

On Monday, Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) President Sudhanshu Mittal expressed his joy over the rise in the game, saying that the nation’s indigenous sport is finally being recognised as a career option amongst the players and will no longer just be a pleasure play.

“I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju ji for helping in promoting Kho Kho. Earlier, for government jobs (in sports quota) Kho Kho was not considered but now Kho Kho players — who did great — can also get a job under that scheme. And the credit to this goes to the Central government.

“So, the sportspersons –who play Kho Kho — are now feeling secure (career wise) and I am sure such motivational steps will promote the sport in India,” Mr Mittal said.

The Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) President further said that the sport has opened up its wings and is ready to explore the World.

“It is a proud moment for the Kho Kho Federation of India that Kho Kho has got recognition at international level as well. Who would have thought that Kho Kho will become so popular in foreign countries too? Efforts were made to make it possible and I am thankful to all those who are supporting us in this regard.

“Foreign countries liked our sport (Kho Kho) because there is endurance, agility and strength in it. People will surely like it,” he said.
The Kho Kho league was scheduled to start next month but because of COVID-19 it got postponed indefinitely.

Speaking about the league, Mr Mittal said the Kho Kho league will open a wide array of opportunities for the players nationwide to help improve their lives.“Leagues are now taking place in every sport. And such leagues are doing great in promoting their respective sports. Like for example after cricket, people have watched Kabaddi a lot. And just like Kabaddi, Kho Kho also has action involved. People will watch it too.

“Our Kho Kho league was scheduled to start from November 21 but because of COVID-19 it got postponed. We will announce the fresh dates soon,” he said. Mr Mittal further acknowledged the support of the Central government after Sarika Kale was honored with the Arjuna Award this year. 

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has once spoken (in Mann Ki Baat) on promoting India’s sports and he named Kho Kho in that speech. Now when one Kho kho player was honored with an Arjuna award, this has boosted the confidence of the Kho Kho players and the federation.

“Our athletes feel that they are also now getting the same kind of recognition like other sportspersons get. I on behalf of my federation would like to say that we will continue to support and promote our sport and athletes,” he concluded.