In an increasingly technology-dependent world, most forms of physical activities are being seen as an unnecessary effort. Children are no longer enamoured by the idea of playing games that do not take place via the media of virtual technology. In such a world, where the spirit for competitive sports is facing a dip, organizations like Sportseed are working towards promoting an atmosphere for Olympic sports and providing counsel and designing custom sports programs that can be implemented in schools. In an exclusive interview with The Bridge, the founder, and director of Sportseed, Sudhanshu Fadnis elaborated on their company and their dedicated efforts towards generating interest in sports.
The idea of forming an organization that would look into the sports education sector brewed in his mind in 2010. The once-corporate employee traced the origin of this brainwave, “I’ve had a past of being a competitive sportsperson myself. When the 2010 Commonwealth Games happened in Delhi, the thought began as to how we could take and develop sports in schools of our country.”
The aim was to popularise Olympic sports in the aftermath of the Commonwealth Games which triggered the love for sports again. Birthed in 2012, Sportseed has grown from strength to strength. Their presence can be strongly felt in far corners of the country, in as many as 12 States, ranging from Gujarat in the west to quaint Arunanchal Pradesh in the east; Sportseed is busy ensuring sporting activities are not left as an afterthought. Like the seeds of a crop which is planted with delicate care, Sudhanshu and his organization also desire to tend and nurture the talent in our country. There is a quirky way in which Sportseed functions which enhances the betterment of the child.
Spanning over seven whole years now, Sportseed is associated with over 100 private schools and various government and federal organizations like the Sports Authority of Gujarat and other such esteemed liaisons. Explaining the process more, Sudhanshu says, “We work with various schools and governments and organize fairs where kids can come and their prospective talent can be assessed and thereby of their State or their region. Based on this data, we create a customized portfolio of which sports curriculum these schools should have. It could be a combination of football, archery or gymnastics, so on. When implemented, it becomes like any other regular school academic activity. Our program, therefore, is educational in nature.”
The dedicated team at Sportseed works with the schools and governmental organizations for a certain period of time and through their activities, the healthy spirit of sports is promoted and grassroots talent is discovered. Specializing in 20 Olympic sports as of now, Fadnis, admits that it’s a long journey ahead. Over the last five years, there has been a considerate change in the climate of sports in India and the government has taken up a very involved role.
Sudhanshu admires the positive hike that he has noticed of late and lauds the introduction of Khelo India initiative which is aimed at bringing sports to every corner of the country, in the quest for talent. A lot of sports companies have also cropped up, all singularly motivated to popularise the sports culture in the country. Although the abyss still exists between the exposure given to elite athletes and the raw talents from the grassroots level, the bridge between the two can only be covered with more such companies coming up.
However, it is a dynamic time for the company dedicated to promoting the spirit of sports as they’ll be launching a subscription app in September so that a greater number of people can easily access the various sports curriculum they have designed. “The other thing we are digitizing is the Sports Quotient side. If a certain colony wants their kids to be tested to discover which sports they are leaning towards, they can do that through this platform,” Sudhanshu excitedly informs. “We are also promoting a platform called Play2Be whereby the coaches and sports facilities will be listed. If somebody is interested in taking up badminton, for example, and doesn’t know which coach to approach, they can look up the list on the app and so on. It will be a B-to-C platform,” he enlightens us swiftly.
It is a very exciting time to be a part of this culture which is dedicated to transforming India into a sporting nation. Sportseed has nurtured students who have gone on to play at national level tournaments. Three of their students are national medallists in archery among whom one has even gone for an international tournament. Besides, there are numerous state-level medallists in various sports like athletics, swimming, shooting. Although the journey ahead is long, Sudhanshu believes there is a lot more talent remaining to be found at every bend, all waiting for correct grooming and direction which Sportseed is hungry to cater to.