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For a remarkable contribution in nurturing and building sporting talents in the country for close to a decade, Pune-based an ‘athlete-first’ organisation Lakshya has been honoured with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar at the 2020 National Sports Awards.
A not-for-profit organisation, Lakshya, which was started over a coffee meeting in Pune by a bunch of sports fanatics in 2010 to provide much-needed support for Indian athletes to win medals for the country at big international events, has so far extended holistic support to more than 100 sports persons across eight disciplines, including the Olympians such as Rahi Sarnobat, Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra and Ashwini Ponappa, during its glorious journey so far.
“It’s privilege to receive this award and get recognised for our hard work. Ten years back when people were questioning the ability of Indian athletes to win medals at global events, we knew with the right kind of support this can be made possible. And we are happy to see a journey that saw its inception over coffee has now made confident and strong strides. This not only inspires us but motivates us to work harder for the players well-being and contribute to nation building,” Lakshya President Vishal Chordia said.
Be it helping Asian Games champion Sarnobat find the right grip for her pistol which led to her qualification at the 2012 Olympics and a complete turnaround of her career or for that matter supporting a young shooter Mampi Das in not only excelling in the sport but also helping her mother to get back the jewellery which she had mortgaged to get Mampi pursue sports, Lakshya has many such untold stories where they have not only helped athlete rise but have also supported their parents in order to create a conducive environment for players to focus on their game.
“For any athlete to pursue excellence, it is very important to create a right kind of stress-free environment where the focus of the player can only be on the training. I still remember, there was a time when Ankita [Raina] was failing to find motivation due to her mother staying away for her job when Ankita was training in Pune. So we managed to get a job transfer for her mother to Pune requesting the respective employer and thereafter there was no looking back for Ankita as she kept performing well consistently,” Sunder Iyer, Secretary, Lakshya said.
Training, nurturing, guidance, nutrition, mental coaching to provide a stipend to the players, the current crop of athletes that Lakshya is supporting promise to carve a niche for themselves.
“We have been currently ensuring support to 35 athletes from eight disciplines that includes athletes like 2021 Olympic qualified boxers Pooja Rani and Simranjit Kaur, ace paddler Sharath Kamal, wrestler Sunil Kumar and chess sensation Vidit Gujarathi. We also thank all our Donors, who have been supporting us in our journey and will continue to do in the future,” said Chess Grandmaster and Player Management Head Abhijeet Kunte.
These achievements would not have been possible without the silent contribution of Lakshya’s other core team which includes its Founder President Manish Jain, Vice Presidents Swastik Sirsikar and Ashish Desai, Amay Yeravdekar (Jt Secretary), Bharat Shah (Treasurer) and members Ritu Nathani, Satyen Patel, Narendra Firodia and Manish Mehta, who have stood the test of time with a common goal to contribute towards India’s sporting revolution and see Indian tri-colour go high at international events.
The National Sports Awards will be conferred on August 29 in a virtual ceremony, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.