Manisha Malhotra: Time for government to open doors to corporates and make sports a larger movement

Sportstar’s West Sports Conclave in Ahmedabad brought together top sportspersons and sport industry experts under one roof for a series of carefully-curated conversations on revolutionising the sports ecosystem in Western India.

Manisha Malhotra (middle) of JSW Sports at the Sportstar West Sports Conclave on Saturday, September 24, 2022.

Manisha Malhotra (middle) of JSW Sports at the Sportstar West Sports Conclave on Saturday, September 24, 2022. | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Sportstar’s West Sports Conclave in Ahmedabad brought together top sportspersons and sport industry experts under one roof for a series of carefully-curated conversations on revolutionising the sports ecosystem in Western India.

Manisha Malhotra, the Head of Sports excellence and scouting, at JSW Sports, said that the time has come for the Indian Government to open its doors for the corporates and make sports a “larger movement”.

Speaking at a panel discussion on public-private partnerships at the Sportstar West Sports Conclave 2022, Manisha said corporate entities can add innovation to the government infrastructure.

“In terms of corporate entities now working together in various verticals of sports, I think Indian sports has reached a crossroad. We are not at a place where the government is investing a significant amount of money, and there is no dearth of anything that the athletes are not getting,” she said.

“Still, we now need the private entities to come in an out-of-box thinking way, and the government needs to use them to their advantage.

Each training centre should have more accountable benchmarks. I feel the training centres we have do not give the results they were earmarked to do. I think it is time for the government to open the doors to the corporates and make it a much larger movement,” she added.

Harsh Goel, the Director of INI Design Studio, said that more innovative methods need to be added to the system. “In India, the change is happening - not so much in terms of infrastructure but in terms of participation, operations, clubs, teams,” he said.

Dr. Akansh Prajapati, the Sports Director of Parul University, added that the role of corporates was to strengthen sports at the grassroots level. One of the practical examples of such an initiative has been the implementation of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs to scout and build young footballers for a better future in Indian football.

“In sports, we need more than just infrastructure. The days are gone when coaches used to come and help the athletes. So we cannot put all the responsibility on the government.

Sports is a part of our lives, so it is not just that high-performance athletes need assistance (from the government). It has to start from school education, higher education sectors and excellence in sports centres,” said Dr. Prajapati.

Dr. Arjunsinh Rana, the Vice Chancellor of Swarnim Gujarat Sports University, gave another example of the Public Private Partnership in Gujarat.

“In the government sector, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has given a great example in the form of TransStadia in Ahmedabad. There has been a new Sports Policy in the state, which lays down the advantages of the PPP model, and hopefully the model spreads into the rural as urban parts of the state,” he said.

The Conclave is being held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management, Indian Oil, Shiv Naresh, Stag International, SBI and LIC. Conclave can be followed live on sportstar.thehindu.com.

The first edition of the Sportstar Sports Conclave was held in Kerala in 2021. Since then, Guwahati, Chennai and Lucknow have also hosted the event.

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