CXOs in Sports: Interview with Girish Ramdas - CEO, Magzter
Sportskeeda brings another exciting series of interviews – CXOs in Sports, where we speak to eminent and prominent personalities, talking about their sporting interests and ideas for development of sports in general and of their sports work/interest in particular.
Girish Ramdas is the co-founder and CEO of Magzter, a global digital magazine store and newsstand. Based in New York, Magzter is one of the fastest growing digital stores in the world today.
Mr. Ramdas is a sports enthusiast and Sportskeeda caught up with him to ask him about his interest in sport and also discussed the future of sport in India with him. Excerpts:
How big a sports fan are you? What sports do you play/follow?
I am an avid sports fan. I play many different sport such as tennis, shooting, badminton, skiing, swimming and running. I follow tennis, shooting, skiing, cricket and football.
When did you start following and playing sport?
I started swimming when I was 4 years old, I started tennis when I was 6 years old and I started rifle shooting when I was 8 years old.
Is playing still a major part of your life? If yes, how often do you play these days?
These days, due to work pressures, time constraints and global travels, I only go running every day at least 5-10 km. When I am in Chennai, I take my kids to swim every Sunday. The rest is very sporadic.
Which sportsperson inspired you the most as a youngster?
I was inspired by Mohammed Ali.
Any favourite sportspersons in modern times?
Michael Schumacher and Sachin Tendulkar.
What has been your best sporting moment? Describe it for us.
My best sporting moment was when I won the National Gold medal at Kanpur in 1994 when I also broke the National Record – my record is still unbeaten even after 20 years!
What do you think is the problem of sports in India?
Sports in India is considered “extra curricular” – this is the first problem. The other is that there is not much money to be made in sports unlike other countries so kids can’t look at sport to be a proper vocation. The only sport which is heavily sponsored is cricket, so all other sports lose out. The government should also make better sport facilities for the common man also like they do in Chnia, Korea, etc.
How do you think we could build a sporting culture here?
This should be instilled by the parents and schools in a big way and there must be more rewards to sportspersons. I am personally promoting running these days as a way to stay healthy and if such awareness is created then there will be a larger gravitation towards sports.
You were once a national record holder in shooting, until what age did you take the game seriously?
I started shooting by the age of 8 and by the time I was 19 I got the National Gold medal. I took it seriously till I was 25 after which business and other pressures took time away from me. I am looking to restart by shooting and also teach my kids how to shoot.
Lastly, I see that you worked with Venky’s Chicken back in the 1990s. What did you think of their move to take over English football club Blackburn Rovers? Considering they have come under heavy criticism since, do you think it was a mistake?
I really don’t know why they bought Blackburn. I guess they were looking for an alternate to investing in the IPL which they didn’t get a slot in. Buying a team is very different from running it – I guess that’s where Venky’s I feel miscalculated. Also, if this was in India which is Venkys’ core market, it would have been better but since this is in England it really may nor even help their brand.