‘While we may be JSW Sports, our vision has always been Team India’

From our roster of 10 athletes headed to Tokyo, we do have a few medal hopefuls, but Sakshi showed in Rio 2016 that the unheralded ones can have their moments of magic too.

Mustafa Ghouse, CEO of JSW Sports, said it wouldn’t be naive to dream of medals at the Tokyo Games because of the potential as well as the training that the Indian athletes have undergone.   -  Special Arrangement

It’s taken resetting of the countdown clock, training routines, mindsets and more, but we’re now within three days of the biggest dance of them all – Tokyo 2020. The extended five-year wait ceases and the quest to find the fastest, highest, strongest, bravest, sharpest – and any other superlative that sport determines, gets underway, with the world for an audience.

These have been unprecedented times for the world in general, and sport in particular. And our work with athletes at JSW Sports has given us the chance to dive deep into a build-up to the Games like none other.

The challenges came by the dozen and it needed the coming together of all stakeholders in Indian sport – The Government, National Sports Federations, private bodies and corporates like ourselves – to tide over the challenge. It needed adapting and finding ways around roadblocks to make sure our athletes aren’t fretting about factors other than training right.

At the JSW Group, we worked hard to create a risk-free training environment at the Inspire Institute of Sport — our high-performance training centre in Bellary, and opened its doors to any Tokyo-bound Indian athlete without access to training facilities. We hosted the Boxing Federation of India’s elite teams for a two-month national camp, and even extended our facility to the Wrestling Federation of India to host the Cadet and Junior Girls Nationals.

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We are aware that there are aspects beyond just training that play such a critical role in modern sport and we’ve paid special emphasis on taking into account the mental side of things. Our team of very qualified coaches and experts organised multiple online interventions and sessions on psychological counselling, nutrition and diet, rehabilitation, so as to ensure we’ve dotted all our i’s and crossed all the t’s.

While we may be JSW Sports, our vision has always been Team India. We want to play our part – big or small – in helping the country realise its ambitions at the Olympic Games. Apart from the IIS, which focuses on the four sporting disciplines of boxing, judo, track and field, and wrestling, we also have extended partnerships with the National Rifle Association of India and states like Odisha for the professional development of different sports. We have and will continue to extend every bit of support on this front, and coming forward to sponsor Team India is part of that endeavour.

Everyone is talking of medal hopes and how this could be India’s best showing at the Games, and going by the talent our contingent possesses and the way they have trained, it wouldn’t be naïve to dream. From our roster of 10 athletes headed to Tokyo, we do have a few medal hopefuls, but Sakshi showed in Rio 2016 that the unheralded ones can have their moments of magic too. We’ve done all we could to help our athletes have the best possible shot at glory for the country, and all we want is for them to leave everything on the track, the ring, the mat and hope that it’s good enough to have the tricolour flutter when the medals are being handed out.

(Mustafa Ghouse, a former tennis player, is currently the chief executive officer of JSW Sports. The JSW Group is one of the sponsors for Team India at Tokyo Olympics.)

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