Sportstar North Conclave 2022: Sports should be beyond just medals, says Dr. Nidhi Pundhir

The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management, Indian Oil, Shiv Naresh, Life Insurance Corporation of India and KSG.

Manjusha Kanwar, DGM- Sports Coordination, Indian Oil and Nidhi Pundhir (R), Head CSR, HCL Foundation during the Sportstar’s  North Sports Conclave at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

Manjusha Kanwar, DGM- Sports Coordination, Indian Oil and Nidhi Pundhir (R), Head CSR, HCL Foundation during the Sportstar’s North Sports Conclave at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management, Indian Oil, Shiv Naresh, Life Insurance Corporation of India and KSG.

Manjusha Kanwar, DGM-Sports Coordination, IndianOil, said governments must come up with a good rewarding scheme for everyone working behind the scenes with sportspersons.

Speaking at the Sportstar North Sports Conclave in Lucknow on Thursday, Manjusha said, “There are other tiers in the pyramid and the organisations can work backwards now. It is now trying to bring up top talent because we are already earning success overseas.

We have to find a good rewarding scheme; a sports teacher must be able to stand on the same platform as a maths teacher. It would be nice to bounce ideas off each other,” she said.

Dr. Nidhi Pundhir, Head CSR, HCL Foundation explains how her team has helped change lives with “sports interventions.”

Sports has helped delay child marriages, kept children away from drugs, crime, mental health issues have come down drastically.

—  Dr. Nidhi Pundhir on contribution of sports in social development

“Sports should be beyond just medals. Sport leads to complete reform and educational opportunities. Athletes have found jobs with (sports) quotas. They need to have career counselling from an early age,” she said.

“They should continue to play and will have assured employment. Sports is a wonderful medium for the vision to break the cycle of poverty. We have had 27,000 sports interventions thus far and in each case the athlete’s life would be very different if we hadn’t done so.”

Dr. Nidhi also talked about how sports helps in achieving the greater good.

“We have made sports integral to CSR where a source code is available to show its impact on the social development indicator level. Sports has helped delay child marriages, kept children away from drugs, crime, mental health issues have come down drastically. Pre-and post-sport we can see how the resilience of the child has really gone up and how the anaemia eradication has happened. So, as we can see, sports can be linked to a number of social developmental indicators.”

She continued, “In the seven years that we have been investing structurally in sports, we do not differentiate it with education. Sports should be an integral part of any program. Especially in our country, there are a number of problems cropping up in regular sports itself.

We are working in urban slums and all where parents are not at all eager to send their kids to play.

We need community-based early interventions. We try to have at least one sport in each school. Nutrition is a big challenge. With girls, when they attain maturity, there are cultural barriers which crop up. Then there is a time when they get married. In para games, we haven’t even woken up to the challenges,” she added.

The Hindu Sportstar North Conclave presents a series of carefully curated conversations with top sportspersons and sport industry experts on revolutionising the sports ecosystem in Uttar Pradesh. The dialogues will offer a rare insight into the lives of the sports stars and help find ways to ignite the nation’s Olympic dream.

The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management, Indian Oil, Shiv Naresh, Life Insurance Corporation of India, NewsX and KSG.

Readers can follow the event live on the  Sportstar website  sportstar.thehindu.com.

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