The Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad warmed up to the tune of a new game that promised to knock them off their feet and storm its way into their hearts. The Elite Football League of India, the Indian avatar of American football held its Pre-Season Kick-Off this evening at a reasonably well attended event.
Even as the players went through the routines preparing for a feisty bout of intense action that was to light up the warm spring evening, the elite men that run the show at EFLI and the Hyderabad Skykings brand ambassador met with the media to talk about the sport and its future.
Tollywood star Sumanth spoke about his love for the game and the thrills of following it, patiently explaining the nuances of the sport to the eager media. With awareness still lacking, the media was happy to indulge the star in a lengthy conversation.
Sumanth is a known fan of the sport, having tweeted enthusiastically about Super Bowl LXVIII that was played last Sunday. In a one-sided contest, the Seattle Seahawks had trounced a lackluster Denver Broncos in that game.
The enthusiastic Richard Whelan, CEO of EFLI, spoke at length about the physicality of the game. The beauty of this very masculine sport, he said, was something India needs to learn over the next few years. The pleasure of experiencing fully developed, chiseled athletes fight for the sphere, he said, is an incomparable delight for fans and players alike.
While Indian athletes had some distance to cover, the President of the EFLI, Dr. Venkatesh Movva believed that India will benefit from the lessons learnt from the west. The EFLI, he said, shall spare no effort in bringing the best of coaching and training techniques to help our athletes learn and develop the technique and endurance needed to thrive in the sport.
Tausif Sheikh, the India Director, informed the media that as many as 12 universities including MD Rohtak, the powerhouse of sports among Indian universities, have signed up with EFLI to promote the sport and encourage athletes.
Tausif also spoke about the various orientation sessions that were conducted at the universities to increase awareness and introduce students to the pleasures of American football while adding that efforts were afoot to continue working with the academic institutions around the country to promote the sport.
The schedule for the evening has three matches –
1600 hrs – Delhi Defenders v Bangalore Warhawks
1800 hrs – Mumbai Gladiators v Hyderabad Skykings
2000 hrs – Kolkata Vipers v Pune Marathas