10 youngsters selected under GAIL Indian Speed Star initiative
New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTU) A nationwide trial to identify budding track and field athletes for the GAIL Indian Speed Star Season III culminated with the selection of 10 youngsters in the grand finale at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex here today.
The 10 winners will join an elite group of 14 athletes selected in the previous two seasons of this initiative. These 14 athletes have been undergoing training at the prestigious Racers Track Club in Kingston, Jamaica which is the training ground of champions such as Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore graced the occasion in the presence of National Selection Committee members P T Usha, Sriram Singh Shekhawat, Rachita Mistry, Anuradha Biswal and Kavita Raut.
After felicitating the winners, Rathore said, "Perception about sports and sportspersons in the country is changing. Today everyone looks up to sportspersons to win medals in international competitions and make country proud.
"As a sportsperson myself, my appreciations and heartfelt congratulations to GAIL for successfully conducting three seasons of this unique talent search programme. This grassroots programme to identify and groom athletes in the country is a noble initiative that is worth emulating. Such support will go a long way in unearthing hidden talents and promoting sports in the country."
GAIL Indian Speed Star is an initiative to search national talent in athletics and groom future stars for Olympics 2020 and 2024 in track events.
For Season III of the talent hunt, the trials were conducted in 120 nodal districts, covering around 600 adjoining districts, with special focus on the country’s remote locations, tribal belts and northeastern states.
Over 1,40,000 children participated in the district trials and 3,500 children qualified for the state-level trials which were held at 20 locations. Out of them, 243 qualified for the national finale today.
This programme aims to spot, screen, select and groom young athletes between the age groups of 11 to 15 years and 15 to 17 years in 100m, 200m and 400m track events across the country, furthering them through access to coaching, foreign training, physiotherapy, mental conditioning and other support services