I thought there weren’t much initiatives done to help Indian athletes in their preparation and training and support them to help represent the country in the Olympics. But after hearing about GAIL Indian Speedstar initiative my thoughts have changed. GAIL (India) Limited and National Yuva Cooperative Society (NYCS), launched a grassroots athletics program GAIL Indian Speedstar on the 22nd of March, 2016 at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. This program is aimed at unearthing young talent across the length and breadth of India.
The reason to launch this program is to identify, select and nurture the hidden talent in athletes. The aim is to identify the best athletes in the country, selecting the outstanding of the best by putting them through trials and tests, provide expert training for the ones selected and support them to represent and win glories for the country at the Olympics 2020/2024. The idea and the program is very noble seeing the lack of much support for aspiring young athletes in India. The targeted age group is 11 – 17 years in 100m, 200m and 800m track events across. To be fair and to maintain highest forms of standards a panel of eminent sportspersons like P.T Usha, Rachita Mistry, Anuradha Biswal & Kavita Raut have been appointed in the selection committee to support selections and guide coaching camps. As members of the selection committee their role would include creating the selection criteria or the GAIL-Indian Speedstar program, and developing the training plan and module for the selected athletes at the National Level. District trials were conducted under the watchful eyes of coaches and selectors, appointed by the selection committee. The selection of the athletes was based on talent identification and selection criteria set by the selection committee.
In its first year, earlier this year initial trials were conducted at 55 districts across 10 states in which more than 25,000 children participated out of which 850 children made it to the State level. The first State level camp and trial was organized on 27-28th of February in Sawai Maan Singh Stadium, Jaipur where 60 boys and girls participated out of which 4 have qualified for the next level. The state trials then were held in Odisha (14 Selection), Delhi (28 Selection), Kerala (28 Selection) & Jharkhand (4 Selection) followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat in the last week of April. The shortlisted children from the State trials will then participate in the National camp and selection which is scheduled to be held in May 2016 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. Shortlisted athletes from state trials will attend an intensive national level camp. At the conclusion of the coaching camp, final trials will be held. Winners will be selected based on the qualification criteria and their potential. The winners will be given extensive training throughout the year. The top 9 athletes will then be provided with a world class coaching for over a period of 5 years with an ultimate objective of one of these athletes to represent India at the Olympics. Here’s the experience shared by one of the state level qualifier:
National Yuva Cooperative Society has tied up with Anglian Medal Hunt Company as its Technical Partner for The GAIL Indian Speedstar project. Legendary athlete P.T. Usha launched the initiative alongside the organizers Dr. Ashutosh Karnatak, Director (Projects) – GAIL (India) Ltd, Rajesh Pande – President – National Yuva Cooperative Society Ltd (NYCS) and Maneesh Bahuguna, CEO – Anglian Medal Hunt Company.
The program focused at the grassroots level aims to create a pool of athletes with a knack which will possibly bring honor for India in track events at the highest echelon of sporting events – the Olympics 2020/2024.
For more information on Gail-Indian Speedstar please visit: