The Sportstar Conclave caravan returned for its second edition on Thursday, with the ‘Focus on Telangan’ in Hyderabad. Issues in different sports disciplines and ways to improve playing conditions were discussed in the event.
Telangana Sports Minister V. Srinivas Goud delivered the inaugural address and underlined the government’s commitment to expanding the reach of all sports in the state.
He said, “Creating infrastructure and scientific coaching is the motto of our government. We have distributed around 17,000 sports kits and covered villages and mandals. We have covered games like football, volleyball, and kabaddi, and soon there will be cricket grounds in the village. Recently, we conducted inter-state games where 6,800 players from Hyderabad participated.”
Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi was named the Emerging Hero, and badminton coach S.M. Arif was named Sportstar Hero Unsung Champion during the event.
Two-time Olympic medallist P.V. Sindhu felicitated Arif, under whose tutelage she had begun her career.
Former India women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj graced the occasion and gave valuable insights on ameliorating the standards of women’s cricket in Telangana.
She said, “There is still a significant amount of work that needs to be done at the grassroots level. Nowadays, many parents are eager to enrol their children in cricket, and even if they don’t make it to the Indian team, they can still benefit from match fees, access to different leagues, and other opportunities.
“Visibility is crucial, and state associations are doing well in this regard, but providing more facilities in districts would benefit more aspiring players.”
Nooshin Al Khadeer, the former India cricketer, echoed Mithali’s sentiments in a panel discussion titled ‘Bringing women’s cricket to the forefront’.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand expressed his opinion on the significance of sports in community building and the positive impact it has on the nation.
Former Indian cricketer Arshad Ayub emphasised the importance of a proper process for Hyderabad Cricket to reclaim the Ranji Trophy, which it last won in 1987.
“Though there is enough talent, the process needs improvement,” He said during a panel discussion titled ‘Cricket at Crossroads’,
During a panel discussion on ‘Nurturing the Future of Telangana Sports’, national athletics coach N. Ramesh emphasized that it was unfair to compare different sports as each sport has its own unique set of challenges.
He further added that the current strategy for producing champions needs to change. Other panellists included Victor Amalraj (former Indian football captain), Varun Tripuraneni (co-owner, Hyderabad FC), Prasad Mangipudi (co-founder, PBL), and Norman Isaac (secretary, Telangana Basketball Association).
In another discussion on the role of schools and academies in promoting sports, Praveen Raju (Chairman, Suchitra Academy), Dr. Sudheer Dara (Founder & Director, Epione), Abhijit Rao (CEO, Sreenidhi Educational Group), Esha Singh (World Championship medallist, shooting) and Dr. A R Khan (Director, Khan Study Group) expressed their views.
The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care — a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, Carrera, Indian Oil, ISBC, NTPC, Khan Study Group, KPMG, Sprint Diagnostics, Sneha Fresh Chicken, Great Sports Tech, Epione and NewsX.
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