New Delhi, Jan 8:
Aiming to ‘catch them young’, School Sports Promotion Foundation (SSPF) has been recognised as ‘National Sports Promotion Organisation’ by the Government of India for its grassroot initiatives across five disciplines.
SSPF aims to open up opportunities for school students from across India – from metros to the deep interiors of the country – and seek excellence in sports alongside education, says SSPF chairman Om Pathak.
The recognition has been accorded based on its performance in the inaugural year.
After a successful first year, the SSPF expanded its reach by including three more games in its portfolio last year.
The national talent Search and Nurture (NTSN) scheme was launched in association with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in 2015.
Former India cricketer Chetan Sharma, Asian Games medal- winning athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, former India volleyball star Om Parkash, former India captain Hanuman Singh (basketball) and ex-India captain Baichung Bhutia (football) are the noted sportspersons on board as head of the respective councils for their sports.
“SSPF is the first independent initiative to receive the honour and is India’s largest grassroots school sports programme. The status of NSPO further reinforces and strengthens SSPF’s appeal and standing amongst participating schools,” says Pathak.
A non-profit foundation, the SSPF was formed in 2015 to organise sports tournaments across the country to identify talented players and give them exposure at the city, district, state, zonal and national level.
Sharma echoed the same sentiment.
“The stature of NSPO will further strengthen the commitment of SSPF to produce more young talents who will represent India on International platform,” Sharma said.
Bhutia said, “Programmes like SSPF should get more importance so that the real talent at grassroots can get exposure at the right time and in right manner.”
He added, “schools are where our future champions are. We are sure that this step of government to recognise SSPF as NSPO will make parents around the country realise how essential it is to balance education and sport.”(PTI)