Anantapur gets Gun For Glory boost

Gagan Narang has agreed in principle to set up Gun For Glory Academy centre in Anantapur.

File photo of Gagan Narang and Moncho Ferrer at the Anantapur Sports Academy.   -  Special Arrangement

For Moncho Ferrer, Programme Director of Rayalaseema Development Trust and Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), it was a double delight - getting the Rashtriya Khel Prothasan Puraskar from the President of India Ramnath Kovind and at the same function ace shooter Gagan Narang agreeing in principle to set up Gun For Glory Academy centre in Anantapur.

"Well we hope to finalise the nitty-gritty," says Mr. Ferrer in an interview with Sportstar on Friday.

"We do see lot of potential for shooting in and around Anantapur and sincerely believe Gagan's Academy will give a major fillip to the sport there," he said.

"Definitely, the President’s Puraskar is a recognition for all the good work we have been doing and it is very special coming in the 50th year of the inception of RDT," Mr. Ferrer said.

Read: National award a glorious validation for Gagan Narang's vision

"We set up the ASA in 2000 with a vision to utilise sport as a medium to create social change amongst rural children and youth in Anantapur and young talent of about 11,000 in hockey, football, cricket, judo, kho kho, kabaddi through 90 centres across the district are engaged in coaching with 45 per cent of them being girls,” says the top RTD official.

"What gives us more satisfaction is that the tie-up with Pro Sports Development (India), Manipal Academy of Higher Education, La Liga Foundation and La Liga Women (Spain), One Million Hockey Legs (Netherlands) and Stick for India (Spain) have changed the dimension of our programme and been of great help to the children," he says.

"Yes definitely the focus has been more on the under-privileged children interested in sports and academics. For instance during 2018-19 under the Grassroots Development Programme we engaged 10,610 children with 46 per cent being girls. We have set up 20 community mandal football clubs (CFCs) taking care of 2074 children and in the last two years in partnership with 24 Government schools conducted hockey programmes to reach about 1655 children," Ferrer explains.

"We take pride in starting the Anantapur Football League in 2014-15 for boys (under-15 and 17 years) to assist 20 CFCs," he added.

"It is not just training, we also support the performing athletes under the elite athlete development scholarship programme covering 168 children by providing free of cost access to schools and colleges, professional training, sports gear," Mr. Ferrer said.

Not surprisingly some of the biggest names in the world of sport including tennis great Rafael Nadal are regular visitors to RDT Sports Complex and conduct training sessions too as part of exchange programmes.