There was a surge of emotion through my veins when I first read the news of Dipa Karmakar being selected as the first Indian woman gymnast qualified for Olympics. It was the emotion of being an Indian! Dipa’s achievement captured my admiration in particular because it is from the field of sports which often seems neglected in our country. How many young Indians are trained and encouraged from their childhood towards a sport of their interest? We certainly do not have considerable numbers.
But from now on, we’ll see a change in the trend!
Yes, as a means to uplift and train budding athletes in our country, GAIL (India) Limited has launched the GAIL-Indian Speedstar program to identify, select and nurture the hidden talent in athletes.
About the Launch Event
GAIL (India) Limited and National Yuva Cooperative Society (NYCS), launched a grassroots athletics program GAIL Indian Speedstar on the 22nd of March, 2016 at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi.
National Yuva Cooperative Society has tied up with Anglian Medal Hunt Company as its Technical Partner for The GAIL-Indian Speedstar project. The persisting, epoch-making attempt before – focused grassroots program aims to create a pool of athletes with knack which will possibly bring honor for India in track events at the highest echelon of sporting events – the Olympics 2020/2024.
Legendary athlete P.T. Usha launched the initiative alongside the organizers Dr. AshutoshKarnatak, Director (Projects), GAIL (India) Ltd, Rajesh Pande, President, National Yuva Cooperative Society Ltd (NYCS) and Maneesh Bahuguna, CEO, Anglian Medal Hunt Company.
Aim of GAIL Indian Speedstar
GAIL-Indian Speedstar is aimed at unearthing young talent across the length and breadth of India. The reason to launch this program is to identify, select and nurture the hidden talent in athletes. The targeted age group is 11 – 17 years in 100m, 200m and 800m track events across.
The GAIL-Indian Speedstar Selection Committee
A panel of eminent sportspersons like P.T Usha, Rachita Mistry, Anuradha Biswal & Kavita Raut have been appointed in the selection committee to support selections and guide coaching camps. As members of the selection committee their role would include creating the selection criteria or the GAIL-Indian Speedstar program, and developing the training plan and module for the selected athletes at the National Level.
Earlier this year initial trials were conducted at 55 districts across 10 states in which more than 25,000 children participated out of which 850 children made it to the State level.
District trials were conducted under the watchful eyes of coaches and selectors, appointed by the selection committee. The selection of the athletes was based on talent identification and selection criteria set by the selection committee.
State Level Camp & Trials
The first State level camp and trial was organized on 27-28th of February in SawaiMaan Singh Stadium, Jaipur where 60 boys and girls participated out of which 4 have qualified for the next level.
The state trials were held in Odisha (14 Selection), Delhi (28 Selection), Kerala (28 Selection) & Jharkhand (4 Selection) followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat in the last week of April.
Watch Treasa from Thrissur, the winner of Kerala state trials, sharing her goals to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics:
Intensive National Level Camp
The shortlisted children from the State trials will then participate in the National camp and selection which is scheduled to be held in May 2016 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. Shortlisted athletes from state trials will attend an intensive national level camp. At the conclusion of the coaching camp, final trials will be held.
Winners will be selected based on the qualification criteria and their potential. The winners 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.
GAIL-Indian Speedstar is a true wake up call to all young Indian athletes! Let’s not stop with reading this post. Let’s be an active participant of the program and encourage the selected athletes by watching out for the program updates at the GAIL-Indian Speedstar website and sharing their social media posts from GAIL-Indian Speedstar Facebook Page and tweet your hearts out for Indian athletes at their Twitter Page (@Indianspeedstar ) using #GailRaftaar.