The first edition of the Sportstar Conclave caravan of 2024 took place on Friday with ‘Focus Goa’. The event addressed issues in various sports disciplines and discussed ways to improve playing conditions.
In a virtual address, Goa Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant, said: “Goa has been primarily known as a tourist destination, but it is set to become a sports hub soon. Last year, Goa successfully hosted numerous national and international sporting events. Recently, under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Games were held in Goa, which saw more than 10,000 athletes participate across 43 disciplines. Goa also achieved its highest medal tally of 92.”
Rohan Khaunte, the Tourism Minister of Goa, emphasised the government’s dedication to combining sports and tourism.
“The state has actively promoted to redefine its identity by leveraging technology. This innovative strategy, encompassing the four ‘S’s of sun, sand, sea, and software, has evolved further with the addition of the fifth ‘S’: sports. By incorporating sports into our narrative, we are not only providing equal opportunities to the youth but also contributing to the multifaceted development of Goa.”
Shrinivas Dempo (Chairman, Dempo Group) and Dr. Sagar D. Salgaocar (Managing Director, Geno Sports Club) shared their views on the role of sports in community and social development. “Embracing a multi-stakeholder approach, combining efforts from both the private and public sectors, is essential to transforming Goa into a world-class sporting hub,” said Shrinivas. Meanwhile, Dr. Salgaocar highlighted how powerful a medium sport is when it comes to inspiring core values such as discipline and perseverance. The session was moderated by Suresh Balakrishnan, the Chief Revenue Officer of The Hindu Group.
Mervyn Fernandes, a member of the 1980 gold medal-winning hockey team, expressed his views on how Goa can build on its legacy of hosting the 37th edition of the National Games in 2023 and popularise different sports. “Football is the most popular sport in Goa, but it’s important to recognize the contributions of other sports like hockey. Olympians from Goa, including Mary D’Souza, have made significant strides in hockey. Despite being less in the spotlight, efforts have been made to promote and popularize hockey. Recent initiatives, such as hosting the Sub Junior and Junior Nationals on Astroturf, suggest that hockey is gaining ground,” Fernandes said during a session hosted by K.C. Vijaya Kumar, Sports Editor, The Hindu.
Suneel Anchipaka, IAS (Director Tourism and MD, Goa Tourism Development Corporation), revealed the Goa government’s strategy for making the State the new-age sports hub of India.
“The government has been working on not only building the assets but also on how to maintain them sustainably.”
“We had stiff competition from states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, despite that Goa became the destination for Pro Beach Volleyball. We have a host city partnership with World Table Tennis for another three years. For hinterland tourism and rural communities, the government has conducted adventure racing. It is a completely eco-based sports model,” Anchipaka said in a session moderated by Prasanth Shanthakumaran, Partner, KPMG India.
Pearl Fernandes, a promising footballer, was named the Emerging Hero, while Levino Dias, a revered Goan football coach, was named the Sportstar Hero Unsung Champion.
The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, Goa Tourism, Indian Oil, Geno Sports Club, KSG India, State Bank of India, KPMG, Great SportsTech, Casagrand, and NewsX.
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