Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH—Idea behind launching sporting initiative ‘Sansad Star Khel Mahakumbh’ is to promote a culture for sports, nurture grassroot talent and above all to address the increasing trend of drug abuse in the state, says Mr Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament, Hamirpur. May be many are drudging hard to efface the menace and haunts not only the government but also the whole society. Sports can be of great help to keep youth away from the drugs, he feels.
Sports have been a neglected field in the state on one pretext or the other and its absence might have made youth easy prey to drugs. It is a fact that the state of sports in Himachal Pradesh may have an indefinite past and an imperfect present but, given the indulgence of sporting initiative in zipping up sporting standards, it can surely and definitely look forward to a perfect continuous sports future for the State.
Sansad Star Khel Mahakumbh, the first-of-its-kind in the country that was launched by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar along with the main instrumental behind this initiative, Member of Parliament Anurag Thakur in May, 2018.
The initiative will work on a two-pronged strategy to raise sporting standards in Himachal Pradesh on one hand, while on the other hand key to keep youth away from drugs and encouraging their involvement in sports. There is a strong correlation between sports and a reduced incidence of involvement with drugs. It will also incentivize the talent especially in rural areas and drawing them to the field of sports.
With an aim to seek participation of at least one lakh youth from Hamirpur constituency and ensure that the participation is not limited to city, the remotest areas of the state will get a fair chance to excel in sports. The initiative has been designed in such a manner that it involves participation from youth of 5000 village comprising 800 panchayats, reveals Mr Thakur. The target is to bring talent at grassroot level under its fold and select the best for further nurturing them over the course of next five years. He further stated that Rs. 1 crore would be invested in the project over the next five years for the training and development of selected athletes.
“These measures put together will surely help draw young sportspeople and facilitate them to hone their skills, firm up their mental fibre and strengthen their physical ability. The initiative will bring Himachal Pradesh on the international sports map by identifying and nurturing best of the talent and providing them with opportunities and platforms that aid them in locking horns with the best in the world,” feels Mr Thakur.
It is an amalgamation of six sports namely–football, cricket, bastkeball, volleyball, kabaddi and athletics not only providing them with a platform but a path to their future aspirations. It will create a mark for Himachal Pradesh on the world sports map. The initiative is divided in three parts for its monitoring and smooth running. In the first phase, a platform will be provided to all the athletes to showcase their talent, followed by talent hunt programme to identify extraordinary and talented sportspersons and finally the athletes will be groomed and nurtured in their sports discipline.
Working harder on the initiative, a number of plans and projects have been conceived for providing global-standard infrastructure to enable them to compete with international players in future. And the efforts made by Mr Thakur have started yielding dividends. A host of youth has already started their journey by joining Khel Mahakumbh. The players being identified and nurtured at every step through the campaign choosing the best of the better, stand a very good chance of excelling in national and international tournaments, feels Mr Thakur.
Signs of the initiative, right from the get go, given to the overwhelming response within a short span of time and more impact would be witnessed on the ground in the coming days.