WHEN it comes to raw talent in sports, India is said to have it in abundance, but it is necessary to identify those with talent early and hone their skills, to make successful sportspersons out of them. A group of sports coaches from Pune seem to be doing just that, as they have taken on the task of identifying and nurturing sportspersons of talent from the tribal belt of Palghar. They say they are trying to accomplish “nothing short of a sports revolution.”
The brainchild of national-level athlete and sports researcher Adinath Naik and engineer-cum-social worker Snehal Naik, the “revolution” will see a group of six coaches from Pune training nearly 1,000 children from 10-12 padas (villages) of the Vikramgad taluka of Palghar district. “Due to their geographical surroundings, tribal children have more muscle mass and are intrinsically suited to athletics. We want to use their natural advantage and train them for international events,” said Naik.
The team has tied up with local schools, where such training would be imparted. Naik said sports allows for the overall development of children and has been an integral part of tribal culture. “In India, the sports scene is anything but optimistic as the awareness and infrastructure necessary for the development of sportspersons of international level is lacking. Our aim in approaching the school level is mainly to identify and nurture raw talent right from a very young age,” he said. Naik, who has been in the field of sports research and training since 2011, runs a sports academy near Chandani Chowk.
Through the ‘sports revolution’, he hopes to introduce to tribal children the chance to have a career as professional sportspersons. “Professional sportsman are absorbed in the forces as well as police. We aim to help the tribal children this way,” he said.
The team has been conducting a field survey to identify potential candidates for their camp, while the actual training will start towards the end of July or August, and it will incorporate requisite scientific principles. Naik and his fellow coaches have decided to crowdfund the project and have floated an online funding campaign for the same.