Olympics dreams of Indian youngsters just got a real push – Thanks to the GAIL-Indian Speedstar initiative

It is no surprise that the children of the country which has given birth to various sports have big athletic dreams --- dreams to conquer the world of sports and to make their country proud. But are their dreams being fulfilled? Are they given enough opportunity and training? Well! They are --- from now on at least. It is time to make dreams come true and celebrate Indian athletics.

I was so happy to learn about this initiative by GAIL (India) Limited and now immensely proud to pass the knowledge to you. The work they are doing is praiseworthy and welcoming. They have created a grassroots athletics program called GAIL-Indian Speedstar which is aimed at unearthing young talent across the length and breadth of India. The program was launched on 22nd March at New Delhi this year in cooperation with National Yuva Cooperative Society.

The very reason for the launch of this program was to identify, select and nurture the hidden talents in athletes. And the target is to bring together a pool of brilliant athletes who will possibly bring honour for India in track events at the highest echelon of sporting events – the Olympics.

The program is already in full operation, targeting talents in the age group of 11-17 and across 100m, 200m and 800m track events. It is good to see that eminent sportsperson like P.T Usha, Rachita Mistry, Anuradha Biswal and Kavita Raut have been appointed in the selection committee. There is no doubt that with the expertise they have, the training plan and module for selecting athletes that they are developing will be fruitful.

Initial trails have already been conducted in 55 districts across 10 states. It looks like people are really appreciating this program as more than 25,000 children participated in those trials. State levels trails are also being held and states like Rajasthan, Kerela, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra & Gujarat have already sent their shortlisted children to the National Camp. 
A glimpse into the various events at the camps
The shortlisted athletes from state trials will attend an intensive national level camp, at the conclusion of which, final trials will be held. Winners will be selected based on the qualification criteria and their potential and they will be given extensive training throughout the year. The top 9 athletes will then be provided with a world class coaching for over a period of 5 years with an ultimate objective of one of these athletes to represent India at the Olympics.

I wish the athletes and this program a great success and hope that this will bring us many gold medals. 

Find out more about this initiative at GAIL-Indian Speedstar website (http://www.gailindianspeedstar.org/and watch a winner speak about her dreams in this Facebook video.

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