A fulfilling and humbling journey indeed
Just two words spring to mind when I think of the journey of the National Talent Search and Nurture (NTSN) programme: Fulfilling and exciting.
With the end of the first season in sight, we are able to joyously look at the progress of cricket and football under the aegis of the School Sports Promotion Foundation in partnership with the Sports Authority of India. Around this time last year, we were still discussing NTSN’s concept and its structure.
Such a project has not been attempted, let alone achieved, before in our vast country. With close to 2000 school teams registering in our inaugural year, the enthusiasm across the nation has been palpable. We believe the foundation for a high-quality programme has been well and truly laid and that we are poised to make a difference.
Having said that, we have drawn lessons from the journey so far. We have realised that we need a more vibrant organisation on-ground to make the players believe that they are part of a beautiful programme. To achieve this, we have secured the help of a number of similar-thinking sports organisations as we move towards NTSN’s second season when we will add basketball, volleyball and kabaddi to our calendar. The stage is set for several thousands of schools to become part of the exciting journey to make India a more sports-conscious nation.
I would like to thank the thousands of boys who have become path-breakers by competing in the first season of NTSN, their Schools which have provided them the opportunity to pursue their sporting dreams. The Chairpersons of SSPF Cricket and Football Councils, former India players Chetan Sharma and Sq Ldr SS Hakeem, have offered visionary support and leadership.
Together with Team SSPF in Delhi, they have been able to secure the unstinted services of State and District Co-ordinators to ensure that NTSN has already captured the imagination of schoolboys across the country. It only makes us determined to renew our vigour as we prepare for the climax of the first season and the launch of the enlarged second season.
Yes, it has been a fulfilling, exciting and humbling experience.
I am particularly excited that we are finalising our plans to set up a Centre of Excellence for each of the five sports disciplines that are part of our calendar. It would be wonderful to be able to have these sets of talented boys come together as one and hone their skills under expert coaches and trainers in an atmosphere that encourages both academic and sporting pursuits.