‘A small step but looking forward to making a difference’ – says SSPF Chairman Mr. Om Pathak
On Saturday, 7th January 2017, School Sports Promotion Foundation made an official announcement of being recognized as ‘National Sports Promotion Organization‘ by the Government of India for its grassroots initiatives across five sports namely Football, Volleyball, Cricket, Basket Ball and Athletes.
The press conference started off with a speech by SSPF Chairman Shree Om Pathak, introducing all the dignitaries of the organization to the press. He talked about how core pillars of NSPO are important to each of the members working in this wonderful initiative. He said, “Schools should prioritize sports along with the education. To make winning a habit for any sports person, not only we will conduct tournaments to spot talents but nurture them with good facility, also providing them a quality education.”
Sports Authority of India is supporting the noble cause and to add further, Shri Hira Ballabh, Executive Director (Operations & Finance) – SAI, said, “Our country is blooming with sports talents. We must scout spot these talents and provide them the necessary facility to bring excellence in sports.” He also thanked SSPF Chairman Om Pathak for taking this step to make a difference and needed at this time. He said, “We aim to develop indoor and outdoor sports facility. Time has come and we need to continue to aim higher to promote deserving players from the corners of our country.”
Former India football captain and SSPF National Football Council Chairman Bhaichung Bhutia shared his excitement over a short video message which said, “Programs like SSPF should get more importance so that the real talent at the grassroots level can get exposure at the right time and in the right manner.” He said “schools are where our future champions are,” we are sure that this step of Government to recognize SSPF as NSPO will make parents around the country realize how essential it is to balance education and sport.”
“Cricket has never got enough limelight at the school level.” said Chetan Sharma, former International Cricketer, and the National Cricket Council Chairman, “We need to find the right backup for International level sports from the school level. When we started off with the project, we introduced two games – Cricket and Football, and within a short span of a year, we are now an NSPO body, it is a great stepping stone for us all. We look forward to continuing to bring in new changes which shape life path for deserving student”
1962 Asian Games Decathlon Gold Medallist Gurbachan Singh Randhawa also expressed his concern about the current facility provided by the sports structure of the schools. According to him, nurturing budding talents with great facility should be an ideal priority. A man of few words, he made a point of suggestion that press should feature more sports as well. He specifically defined the role of media in the growth and development of grassroots sports. He said media will give a lot of confidence to the students from all sports to come out and participate more. Former India Volleyball star Om Parkash expressed a belief that with the support of Ministry, SSPF will make a significant contribution to the National Sports scenario.
Concluding the conference with few fiery rounds of questions by the media, Chairman Om Pathak said, “We are looking ahead at a larger than life picture here, concentrating on Centre of Excellence which is an equal balance of education and sports. We want a child, irrespective of any background, metro or non-metro residence, or any other differences, to learn to excel in his/her talent. We want to take school level talent, and nurture and coach them to compete at the district level and filter out the best-sought ones to ultimately mark niche at the International Games.”
In its second session, NT-SN will attempt to get around 10,000 school teams across 300 districts in 25 states. Participation of around 2, 00,000 students is expected who will play around 16,000 matches.