Nita Ambani-led Reliance Foundation Kicks-off National Youth Sports Competition
Honourable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi on Saturday (July 23, 2016) digitally launched the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports initiative pan India, kicking off nation’s largest multi-city, multi-sports school and college sports competition.
With the official launch, Reliance Foundation will invest in building a culture of sports in schools and colleges to unearth the vast and untapped talent in our education system. RFYS will promote and inculcate multi-discipline sports avenues among the youths of India.
As part of the digital launch of RFYS initiative, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi along with Mrs. Nita Ambani, Founder & Chairperson, Reliance Foundation and Shri Vijay Goel, Hon. Min of Youth Affairs & Sports were connected from New Delhi through live broadcast, simultaneously to eight sports grounds at Kochi, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati and Pune. The PM interacted with the school children and watched the RFYS football friendlies played among schools to mark the launch of this initiative.
Come on India, Let’s Play
Shri Modi called the nation to “Let’s Play” while hailing the initiative as a unique step in promoting a culture of sports amongst today’s youth. Reliance Foundation Youth Sports initiative is in sync with the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports’ vision ‘Khelo India’ to bring together a unified and professional system in India to develop sports, players and a sporting ecosystem.
RFYS to launch with Football in 2016
For the inaugural year (2016-17 academic year), RFYS will have football competitions in these eight cities competing in four categories i.e. Junior Boys (Grade 7 - 10); Senior Boys (Grade 11 - 12); Senior Girls (Grade 11– 12) and College Boys (Graduate institutes).
In the first year of its launch, over 2 million youths will be reached through 2000 school and college institutes and 40,000 students expected to participate from these eight cities. Participating teams across categories will compete in city qualifiers beginning August 2016, followed by City Championships in October/November and finals to be played in January/February 2017.
By year 3 (2018-19) the competition is expected to be played in 32 plus cities and year 5 (2020-21), the RFYS will spread to over 50 cities.
RFYS – Multi Sports
From second year (2017-18) onwards, Reliance Foundation Youth Sports plans to add multi- discipline sports such as Basketball, Athletics, Badminton, Volleyball and Tennis. RFYS will cover 16 cities, 4000 institutions and expect to have 1 lakh students’ participation and impact 4 million children through the initiative.
The third year will see RFYS spread to 32 cities with 10,000 institutions participation and 10 million reach.
RFYS will be providing an equal competition platform to all teams regardless of affiliations, socio-economic classes and geographical locations. Participation in RFYS competitions will be free for all schools and colleges. The matches will predominantly be played only in weekends and in schools and college campuses allowing the entire student community and extended families to cheer for their wards.
3000 Games on Digital Broadcast
Reliance Foundation Youth Sports is planning to have over 3000 games in Football competition to be broadcast on digital platform in the inaugural year. Through a combination of clips, highlights and full matches, this will provide invaluable exposure, visibility and opportunity for the student athletes as well as help the coaches scout raw talent. This is expected to close the current gap in sports development and provide a defined career path through clubs scouting and development opportunities for the students.
Reliance Foundation will fund and develop the sports programs as well as create a talent scouting pool in all disciplines to provide scholarships to the deserving children.
Mrs. Nita Ambani, Founder & Chairperson, Reliance Foundations said, “We are extremely honoured to have our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to inaugurate and support the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports. RFYS aims to create a unified structure of school and college competitions across sports to promote participation of young athletes.
“It has been my dream to see India develop as a multi-sports nation. I truly believe that sports can develop the youth in our country and inculcate values of self-discipline, sportsmanship, team spirit, leadership, integrity as well as promote a healthy lifestyle. Our vision is to promote and encourage large participation across multi-sports discipline in over 50 plus cities by 2020 and create opportunities for youngsters to take up sports as a professional career.”
Reliance Foundation Youth Sports has set up a six-member advisory board consisting of educationalists and leading sports personalities to guide the thinking and expansion for this initiative. The advisory board consists of:
1. Nita Ambani, Founder & Chairperson, Reliance Foundation
2. Sachin Tendulkar, cricketing legend
3. Professor Dipak Jain, eminent educationalist, Dean of Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration, Chulalongkom University, Thailand and former Dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
4. Leander Paes, winner of record 18 Grand Slams
5. Saina Nehwal, India’s top and world no.5 ranked badminton player
6. Ranbir Kapoor, co-owner Mumbai City FC (adjudged best grassroots initiatives for 2nd consecutive year). This category is on rotation basis for members of professional sports clubs.