Monday, December 26, 2016

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2016 – A Celebration of Sport
A blink.. A moment.. A play.. A year..! As 2016 draws to a close, we look back on a year for Indian sport that captivated and enthralled many, and quite often truly stunned. While the Olympic and Paralympic Games gave us extraordinary, table-thumping moments, the birth and rise of athletes across sports along with the ever maturing sporting ecosystem holds great promise for the foreseeable future.
As stories in sport continue to unravel, new chapters are consistently being written in the pages of Indian sport. But one story that stands out is the rise of Indian badminton. And it is no coincidence that shuttlers from across the country have been cropping up and are competing tooth and nail on the international stage.
The Story of Indian Badminton
While the likes of Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand navigated new paths for Indian badminton, the floodgates well and truly opened when we started winning medals at the Olympics. It helped that there was abundant talent being seen on the professional circuit.
The Foundation has been excited to be part of this meteoric rise, thereby giving these youngsters the support they need. While Srikanth, who has been supported by us since 2012, reached the quarter finals at the Olympics, great stories of achievement have been seen across the GoSports Foundation’s badminton stable in the recent past.
Ruthvika Shivani secured her first Grand Prix title winning the Russian Open! Doubles pair Ashwini Bhat and Mithula UK have been unstoppable on the national circuit, often punching above their age category! Youngster Rituparna Das saw herself beat the odds to bag the Polish Open while the young pair of Samiya Farooqui and Gayatri Pullela clinched bronze at the Badminton Asia Junior Championships (U-15 & U-17). In just over a year of being paired together, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have won three international tournaments while an injury ravaged Sameer Verma came back to win silver at the Hong Kong Open Superseries.
These are all significant milestones that would not have been possible without the groundwork that has been laid for badminton in India over the years. Tremendous journeys, worthy of celebration, for all these rising stars. The path ahead can only be more exciting!
Top Left (Clockwise) – Rituparna Das, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty, Ruthvika Shivani, Sameer Verma, Ashwini Bhat & Mithula UK, Gayatri Pullela & Samiya Farooqui
While sports and athletes continued to inspire change in the ecosystem, the Foundation and its partners left no stone unturned to rejoice in the achievements of one and all.
IndusInd Bank Felicitation
IndusInd Bank honouring the Para Champions for their incredible achievements this year! 
IndusInd Bank, Principal Partners to the Para Champions Programme, ended the year with a felicitation for the Indian Para athletes supported through the Programme. The evening saw host and stand-up comic Vikram Sathaye lead an entertaining and engaging act for the clients of IndusInd Bank and other guests followed by an intimate interaction with the medallists and the other Para Champions present on the day.
The event concluded with a replay of the wonderful Jeet Ka Halla anthem – a campaign created to amplify and promote para sports in India.
Felicitation by the Honourable President of India

               

Pragya Ghildial was awarded the prestigious National Award by the Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, ‘For The Empowerment Of Persons With Disabilities’ as the ‘Best Sports Person With Disability’!

          
Tandem Allied Sports Awards Nite
Another window of opportunity to celebrate the remarkable sporting year was the GoSports Foundation’s Annual Event in association with its long-term partner Tandem Allied Services. Hosted for the second year, the ‘Tandem Allied Sports Awards Nite’ was an evening which rewarded athletes from Olympic and Paralympic disciplines for their riveting journeys of achievement. The event also recognised the contribution of stakeholders in the Foundation’s journey.
Mr. Arun Kumar, M.D. of Tandem Allied Services, addressing the gathering
To felicitate the achievements of some of its best performing athletes of 2016, GoSports Foundation awarded the following:
  • Spotlight of the Year – Ankur Dhama (Paralympian – 2016; Athletics – 1500m) and Pooja (Paralympian – 2016; Archery)
  • Most Promising Athlete – Rinku (Paralympian – 2016; Javelin Throw)
  • Most Consistent Performer – M.R. Poovamma (Two-time Olympian – 2008 and 2016; Athletics – 400m, 4x400m relay)
  • Enabler of the Year – Amit Saroha (Two-time Paralympian – 2012 and 2016; Discus and Club Throw)
  • Breakthrough Athlete of the Year – Dipa Karmakar (Olympian – 2016; Gymnastics)
  • Against All Odds – Manish Rawat (Olympian – 2016; Racewalking)
  • Sports Personality of the Year – Deepa Malik (Paralympic Silver Medallist – 2016; Shot Put)
  • Spirit of the Sport – Varun Bhati (Paralympic Bronze Medallist – 2016; High Jump)
  • Sports Excellence – Kidambi Srikanth (Olympian – 2016; Badminton)
  • Athlete of the Year – Devendra Jhajharia (Two-time Paralympic Gold Medallist – 2004 and 2016; Javelin Throw)
Top Left (Clockwise) – Ankur Dhama (top left) and Pooja (top right) conferred with ‘Spotlight of the Year’
Niranjan Mukund with the unique ‘Joseph Ollapally Memorial Award’
Supriya Mondal felicitated by Tandem Allied Services
Rinku Hooda with his ‘Most Promising Athlete’ award
Top – M.R. Poovamma with ‘Most Consistent Performer’
Centre – (L) Devendra Jhajharia awarded ‘Athlete of the Year’; (R) Kidambi Srikanth secured ‘Sports Excellence’
Bottom – (L) Varun Singh Bhati won ‘Spirit of the Sport’; (R) Manish Singh Rawat rightly won ‘Against All Odds’
Each of the Foundation’s athletes has gone beyond the medal and been a great source of inspiration to Indians and sports fans all over the world. The celebration sought to re-live 2016 through sporting success and the many rewarding moments that these athletes have given us. GoSports Foundation also acknowledged the support of Tandem Allied Services; a pioneer in this space well before CSR became mandatory as part of the Companies Act. Their support over the last 7 years has truly demonstrated that the right interventions at the right time can make all the difference in an athlete’s journey.
As part of the event, the GoSports Foundation launched a seminal policy brief titled ‘Lessons for India from the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Performances’ prepared by their partners, the Sports Law and Policy Centre, Bengaluru. This brief compiles and organises excerpts from a variety of independent sources that analyse the reason for India’s below par performance and raise questions on the way forward. This brief has been prepared under the guidance of Abhinav Bindra and includes an editorial by him.
GoSports Foundation’s Managing Trustee Nandan Kamath, Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, Javelin Thrower Devendra Jhajharia & GoSports Foundation’s Head of Sports Science John Gloster unveil ‘Lessons for India from the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Performances’ 
The evening ended with some entertainment from Drum Jam, where the entire audience participated in some community drumming to end the evening on a high note!  A big thank you to Myntra who came forward as ‘Online Gifting Partners’ and Rage Chocolatier with their delectable chocolate hampers!
Our work for the event and through the year would not come to fruition without the concerted efforts of our partners. Thank you to our legal team LawNK for their tireless legal support to our athletes and us, our design team Smitten who create flawless artwork for us, and Meraki Sport & Entertainment who have helped us close crucial marketing related partnerships, which has been invaluable to us.
An evening that saw everybody become a drum enthusiast! 
The GoSports Foundation family!
The calendar year that has passed us by has taken our breath away. An Olympic cycle with all its ebb and flow draws to a close making way for a new, exciting one. And while 2016 was celebrated for all its glory, our focus now shifts towards roads that lead to Tokyo 2020. And with bated breath, we wait..

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