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Jammu and Kashmir are rising to the mark and producing leading sports athletes at the International level. It is imperative that we reach out to the youth and promote sports.
Vardaan Dutt, a local Jammu boy, is one such talent that has come to the limelight in recent days. Little did he know that playing football in his backyard would bring him to the India Camp of the upcoming U17 FIFA World Cup 2017. Living in a country where academics are the sought after career path, Vardaan was ready to sweat to make sports his career. Starting playing football as a hobby at the young age of 12, Vardaan knew that with the right platform and coaching he had the skills to take him to the international level.
Vardaan Dutt, a student of KC Public School, showed up on the stage of School Sports Promotion Foundation’s [SSPF] National Talent Search & Nurture program, Schools India Cup 2016. Immediately making his presence felt, the India aspirant impressed talent scouts with his 11 assists in four games and blistering six goals. He further became the stat leader in the J&K Schools India Cup. Schools India Cup is a professionally conducted program in partnership with the Sports Authority of India that provides a platform for talented children to be able to participate at the highest sporting levels. SSPF starts spotting talent right at the district level and nurture skills of the athlete till the national level. Eminent coaches and sports experts who work with the best International and National football stars conduct the coaching camps. More than 23,000 budding athletes came from 20 states and 97 districts of India to take advantage of this program in the first year. The government of India has recognized School Sports Promotion Foundation as a “National Sports Promotion Organisation,” and Schools India Cup is hailed as the largest school sports grassroots program in the country. The Football program is led by the Padma Shri and former India Football Captain Bhaichung Bhutia. A success story of a man who was himself spotted at a school football tournament and then received guidance of sports experts to go on to play for India. Bhaichung believes that this platform will provide an influx of talented athletes to the football community of India. He urges all schools to come out and play. A fan of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Vardaan Dutt never knew that post his journey with Schools India Cup would land him in the India camp of the U17 FIFA World Cup 2017. “The skills I learned while playing the competition has benefited me,” says Dutt. Vardaan is the first U17 player from J&K to be accredited by the Sports Authority of India to play for North India and Central India football teams. “He has always been very clear about his choices and has been very focused on the same. So, when he decided to play football, we were very sure that he would reach far. We are very proud of him, says his father Mr. Vikas Dutt. With his parents backing his footballing dreams and SSPF surfacing tomorrows talent in schools across India, it is a good guess that Vardaan Dutt and many more will emerge as leaders and bring glory to the country. The second season of Schools India Cup 2017 has commenced in 25 states and 200 districts of India.