The second event of SportsMeet – Bangalore turned out to be an engaging, educative, and interactive affair. In the Christ College venue, many athletes, students and sports-related professionals came to network with the reach of SportsMeet growing stronger.
Chitra Gangadharan, a former goalkeeper of the Indian Women’s football team, who has been a captain and has represented the 1977-78 Asian All Star team, gave insights of how sports is an important factor of women’s development.
Chitra mentioned that apart from the general benefits of fitness, sports help women gain in confidence, equality, and outer world exposure which is lacking in large sections of our society. Her talk touched upon various factors from social outlook to government bias towards women.
Chitra’s good humoured talk contained many real life anecdotes from her playing and coaching experiences, which made it more engaging. Also, she emphasized that not only the government but also the corporates need to support women athletes if we want see women take-up sports seriously and respectfully.
Earlier, the event started with a demonstration by Abhishek Srinivas of Krossover, a New York-based company who specialize in developing tools for sports analytics with emphasis on extracting statistics from match videos.
Two time IRONMAN Dipankar Paul shared his experience of the world’s best known Triathlon events. Dipankar’s inspirational achievements awed the audience when he described his exploits of an event which requires 3.4 km of swimming, followed by 180 km biking and ends with 42 km of running. The achievements look impressive as Dipankar is not a professional athlete and started cycling and swimming few years earlier, with proper training only 15 days before the event.
Sudhir Menon, the Editor-in-Chief of the new sports magazine Scoreline, introduced the magazine to the audience, explaining his motivation of starting a sports magazine in India. Influenced by the sports coverage culture of Italy, where magazines and newspapers dedicated only to sports are staple for everyday life, he would one day like to see the same in India too and Scoreline is just a beginning.
The talks finished with a candid and poignant account of the struggle faced by physically challenged sportsmen in India. Vijay Kant Tiwari, a member of Indian cricket team for physically challenged, which toured in Pakistan talked about his experience of touring Pakistan and the lack of support for cricketers like him in the country.
Vijay’s Pakistan tour had been an amazing experience where he had been thoroughly impressed by the warm welcome of the host nation. His experiences back home, however, are far from impressive. Even after his triumphant Pakistan tour, the team had been neglected by large sections of the Indian media and the team remains unknown to masses. Vijay ended his talk by saying that at the moment, physically challenged cricketers need support rather than sympathy.
After the talks, the participants interacted during the networking sessions which went on for quite sometime, giving a platform for meeting of minds and new proposals and opportunities.
Published with permission from Arunava about Football.