Our vision is to create a sustainable sporting ecosystem in India - Pranav Marwah, CEO of Marwah Sports
The sporting landscape in India is slowly shifting from what was once considered a recreational activity to a viable career option, but the lack of infrastructure and awareness continues to stand in the way of many aspiring athletes fulfilling their lifelong dream in making a career in the sports industry. However, the situation continues to change everyday albeit slowly to make sure that future generations have a structured pathway and the best facilities to compete with their peers at the highest level and win honours for the country.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Pranav Marwah, CEO of Marwah Sports speaks about his company’s ambition of becoming a leader in sports infrastructure and education, evolution of the Indian sports ecosystem and its potential, making India’s vision of being a sporting nation a reality, overcoming challenges and his future goals.
Q 1) How is Marwah Sports striving to become a leader in sports infrastructure and education?
A: Marwah Sports’ vision is to enable the creation of a sustainable sporting ecosystem in India, and to back innovative entrepreneurs in their quest for disrupting the status-quo. In our experience, the best way to do that is to work bottom-up, and constantly deliver quality end products. Being a leader isn't just about throwing in a bunch of words together in a vision statement – it is leading by example. Lofty words and big money aren’t always the solution – focusing on the process and executing efficiently is. Whilst nothing is going to change overnight, it is paramount to be patient. We are here for the long run, and hope that our work positively affects the generations to come and not only this one.
Q 2) According to you, how has the Indian sports ecosystem evolved over the years? How much potential do you see in terms of growth?
A: The Indian sports ecosystem has steadily evolved from nascency towards consolidating early growth. Private equity players' growing interest in this ecosystem is a good indicator of the sentiment towards this ecosystem – but more needs to be done to ensure we build solid foundations that enable scale and not crumble under the weight of expectations. With an increased participation from large private business houses, there is renewed vigour that Paris 2024 and/or Los Angeles 2028 could be watershed moments in Indian sport.
Furthermore, with a spurt in entrepreneurs across technology in sport, innovation and data is fuelling growth. Investing in companies like SquareOff and Sporjo furthers our belief – focus on value creation and not valuation, and the latter will follow. We have only begun to scratch the surface of what’s to come in the next decade.
Q 3) What do you think needs to be done to make India a sporting nation? What are the steps that Marwah Sports is taking to make that vision a reality?
A) We are a nation of supporting heroes. Indian sport has traditionally not had heroes outside of mainstream team sport like Hockey or Cricket, but that’s been the greatest shift. From Abhinav Bindra to Mary Kom, from Neeraj Chopra to PV Sindhu, and from Bajrang Punia to Mirabai Chanu, numerous heroes have emerged. What do heroes bring with them? The aspiration and belief that anything is possible, stirring on future generations. We need to champion our champions!
Sport is slowly shifting from being considered recreation, to a potential career path, and our heroes are the ones to credit for that. What aid needs is to take the next step towards glory and for that, we need access to global methodologies of education - physical and theoretical. Partnering with global sports institutes and technology companies, focusing on developing high quality, world class training facilities, and investing and working alongside passionate founders, we are trying to make an impact by delivering value.
For example, at Mumbai Ultras, our aim is to provide aspiring young footballers the balance of working in sport, whilst delivering top quality training and coaching infrastructure and enabling their aspirations of playing sport professionally.
Q 4) As CEO, what are the various challenges you face in your role and how do you overcome them?
A. A big challenge is often finding the right talent to work in the business of sport. Passion for watching sport, or enjoying playing a sport, does not ever equate itself to having the aptitude to work in the business of sport.
One of the main ways of overcoming this issue is investing and working alongside industry experts like G Srinivvasan at Sporjo, and driving the narrative to be a part of the change, rather than just bang on about it.
Another frequent challenge is the lack of understanding/context of the ecosystem from the venture investing world. Money doesn’t solve the problem, value does, and that’s a constant learning process!
Q 5) According to you, what is the need of the hour that Indian youth can most benefit from in terms of sports infrastructure? What is being done to address those issues?
A) India has often been referred to as the 'sleeping giant'. We have finally started waking up from this slumber. The onus of taking the next step should fall on the shoulders of both the public and private sectors. Balanced participation from the public and private sectors is the need of the hour. The state of Odisha has led by example – and we can collectively see the end results of trusting the process, backing decision makers, and not cutting corners. Accountability will remain key for India to be seen as a nation with aspiration, ability, and knowhow – from us to the rest of the world.
Quality control and standardising the growth of sporting infrastructure is key. For example, the Football Association of England stipulates very clearly the quality end product and specifications needed to dip into public resources, and to get the right accreditation. Less fly by knight operators in it for the quick buck, and more people with pedigree who put the sport and the sportspersons first.
India needs world-class sporting facilities and infrastructure that is accessible for even the common man. We hope to make that a reality.
Q 6) What are your long-term goals for Marwah Sports and the Indian sporting ecosystem? How do you plan to accomplish it?
A) Quite simply put, focus on delivering value – to our partners, to our entrepreneurs, to our players, to our coaches, to our backers, and to ourselves! We have allocated a healthy corpus to deploy over the next 24 months in creating world-class sports infrastructure across the country, and hope to let our work do the talking!
We are also kickstarting thinQsport, a sports technology investment program, alongside industry stalwarts and luminaries, to enable unhindered global market access and POC opportunities, whilst providing capital and resources to focus on product building and sales.
Everything that I have achieved is largely because of people who supported me - Aman Kadyan, Taekwondo athlete
Having started Taekwondo at the age of 14, Aman Kadyan has been training under Mr. Sayed Hassan Rezai at the Peace Taekwondo Academy. He has already won a silver medal at the WT President Cup in the Oceania region in 2019, a gold medal at the Indian Open International 2019, bronze at the WT President Cup Asian Region 2018 and Israel Open 2018. Currently All India ranked 1 and World rank 25, Aman is now aiming for bigger achievements and is dedicated to fulfilling his dreams.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Aman Kadyan speaks about being introduced to Taekwondo and pursuing the sport professionally, being supported by the GoSports Foundation, winning the bronze medal at the Russian Open, overcoming difficulties, the influence of the sport on his life and his future goals.
Q 1) What made you get into Taekwondo and what motivated you to pursue the sport professionally?
It started from a class bunk, I skipped math and went to a Taekwondo class and slowly gained interest in the sport. I pursued Taekwondo professionally in 2015 at the Peace Taekwondo Academy and I want people to recognize this sport as the same as any other sport in the Olympic Games. My dream is to get a medal at the Olympics, Asian Games, World Championship and the Asian Championship. My goals motivate me to keep going and I’m grateful for an amazing family, coaches, managers and friends who help me pursue my goals.
Q 2) How has the GoSports foundation supported you throughout the journey?
GoSports Foundation has been the backbone of my journey and has supported me since 2019. They have supported me in times when I was injured and helped me out of rehab, when I needed them the most. They organized a lot of online sessions during the lockdown and have helped me financially to compete in competitions so that I can fulfill my dreams. I’m grateful to have them as my family.
Q 3) How did it feel after winning the bronze medal in the Russian Open this year?
I couldn’t participate in any tournaments for 18 months due to COVID-19 restrictions despite regular training, so winning the bronze medal at the Russian Open made me very happy and excited, it was an amazing experience.
Q 4) How has the sport shaped your body and fitness regimen?
Taekwondo is a tough combat sport that requires both physical and mental strength to achieve the desired result. Since I’ve been training since 2013, I have no doubt that the sport has made me physically strong, fast and active. The first thing Taekwondo taught me is that it requires discipline and has made me more calm and patient.
Q 5) What are some of the difficulties you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Every athlete who achieves something in their career goes through difficulties, whether it’s injuries, financial or personal issues. From 2016 to 2018 was really difficult for me as I wasn’t able to participate in any competitions. I endured injuries and faced other issues but never gave up on my dream. I found a way to achieve my goals with the help of my coach Hassan sir and Vinay sir which ensured that 2019 was the turning point of my life. I achieved World Rank 30 and All India rank 1 and it changed everything and it’s largely because of the people who always supported me.
Q 6) What are some of your goals and aspirations in the future?
The upcoming Asian Games, World Championship and Paris Olympics 2024 are a part of my goals. My family, especially my mother is the biggest inspiration for me as she has sacrificed a lot to ensure my dreams are fulfilled. All my achievements and medals belong to her.
IOC leads the way on climate change as it commits to cut down 50% of emission by 2030
(Sports news) IOC has announced that they will cut its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, as part of its commitment to tackling climate change.
The announcement was made by IOC President Thomas Bach during the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), currently taking place in Greece. It comes ahead of the UN Climate Summit (COP26) due to be held at the end of October in Glasgow, Great Britain.
“The climate crisis is arguably the biggest challenge humanity is facing,” said President Bach. “It is affecting all areas of our lives, including sport of course, as an important part of society. By further reducing our carbon emissions, we strengthen our contribution to the realisation of the Paris Agreement, follow the latest science on climate change, and contribute better to this global effort. We urge all other sports organisations to follow suit.”
In order to achieve the 50 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, the IOC has set an intermediate target of 30 per cent, to be achieved by 2024. It's a plan to deliver increased efforts to reduce emissions in the form of travel, energy use and procurement.
Aligning with the latest science
The IOC’s announcement comes following the publication of the Sixth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – Published in August 2021, the report has found out that human-induced climate change is the reason emission is increasing quickly.
Sport is increasingly affected, both in winter and summer. Unreliable snow and temperatures impact winter sports, while increasing summer heat is a concern for the health of athletes, event organisers and fans.
Based on the latest data from the IPCC report, all signatories to the Framework will be required to reduce their emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, in order to help limit global temperature rise to 1.5˚C.
Already carbon neutral, the IOC aims to become climate positive by 2024.
This will be achieved by:
- reducing the IOC’s direct and indirect emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, a, in line with the Paris Agreement;
- compensating more than 100 per cent of its remaining emissions, mainly through the Olympic Forest project
- using its influence to encourage the broader Olympic Movement, to make the supply chain and other stakeholders take action against climate change and make the sports more sustainable.
Also read: IOC would hope for more consultation and clarity regarding FIFA’s World Cup plans
Climate-positive Olympic Games
From 2030 onwards, each Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) will be contractually obliged to:
- minimise and compensate its direct and indirect carbon emissions;
- implement zero-carbon solutions for the Olympic Games and beyond.
All upcoming Olympic Games have committed to carbon neutrality, with Paris 2024 aiming to become the first climate-positive Games even before the 2030 deadline
- All competition venues at the Beijing 2022 Games aim to use 100 percent renewable energy. Natural and low carbon emission CO2 refrigeration systems will be used at most of the Beijing 2022 ice venues, this the first something like this will be used in an Olympic Venue.
- With 95 percent of venues pre-existing or temporary, among other measures to avoid and reduce carbon emissions, the Paris 2024 carbon footprint is expected to be half the carbon footprint of previous Olympic Summer Games. Paris 2024 will also compensate more than 100 per cent of its residual emissions and use its influence to develop long-term carbon compensation projects,
- LA 28 has adopted a radical reuse approach, which means it will leverage the best of Los Angeles’ iconic sports facilities and not require a single new permanent venue to be built.
South East Asia's premier championship, the World Esports Cup set to start on December
(Esports news): World Esports Cup (WEC '21), South East Asia’s tri-nation esports tournament will be conducted between gamers from India, Pakistan and Nepal. The objective of the World Esports Cup will be to give gamers an opportunity to represent one’s own country, something not everyone gets to do quite often in the esports community in the South Asia region in one of the most popular Battle Royale games. The tournament will have a huge prize pool of $100k (INR 75 lakhs approx). Smartphone maker Infinix Smartphones is the title sponsor for the inaugural edition as the registration of WEC’21 will begin on Saturday, 23rd October 2021 as the athletes from across the three regions can register themselves till November 23.
Esports athletes from India, Pakistan and Nepal will get the chance to compete virtually in open qualifiers to take a shot at becoming the champion of the region. While talking about the launch of World Esports Cup (WEC), WEC Director, Vishwalok Nath said: “We all know how intense it becomes when it comes to any India-Pakistan match and we want fans to witness this epic clash in esports as well. The World Esports Cup will also aim to connect the gamers and gaming community from the South Asian Countries in one platform which will be a first of its kind initiative.”
The tournament, which will be played over a period of three months, in the beginning will have rounds of two open and closed qualifiers across three regions to screen the best 24 squads from each country. Then, those countries will battle out to get their best 12 squads which will lead them to finals which will feature their top 4 squads. In the Grand Finals, top 4 squads from India, Pakistan and Nepal will display their strategies, coordination and tactical skills to decide the top teams from the region. The tournament will be live streamed on official YouTube and Facebook channels of India Today and Aaj Tak along with their websites.
Mr Nath further added regarding its association with Infinix Smartphones, “Mobile gaming with the advent of economical and more advanced smartphone technology has clearly pushed the esports ecosystem to a much wider audience, tapping the still untapped markets across the region and I believe our partnership with Infinix Smartphones consecutive for the second IP property is a strong indication of the potential that WEC brings forth. We are expecting a phenomenal response for this Tri-Nation tournament.”
In its inaugural edition WEC will witness 33+ Days of streaming. The Hong Kong based smartphone giant, Infinix Smartphones is geared up with multiple upgrades and innovations specifically designed to give a mindblowing and exceptional gaming experience with Dar Link game boost technology, which increases the gaming interaction and visual experience in heavy-duty Games like Free Fire.
We at Infinix are working to provide the best gaming experience to our customers with our value driven product offerings. We want to give more power to gamers and make gaming-focused smartphones available for everyone, even for those from the remotest areas of the nation. We have been focusing on R&D like never before and are constantly trying to better ourselves with each product that we bring to the market. Our indigenous DarLink game-boost technology is just one proof of our efforts in this direction. With this partnership, we aim to open doors and give new platforms to the growing gaming talent in India. We are confident that Indian players will not only win but will also encourage the Indian gaming pool in a global platform like WEC. Mr. Anish Kapoor, CEO of Infinix Smartphones said while announcing the association.
While Esports is now a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games as well as few other upcoming Asian Championships in the near future. It is expected to see a full fledged induction in Paris Olympics in 2024. WEC’21 aims to play the role of a catalyst to develop, support and grow the Esports ecosystem in India and its neighbouring countries and get esports recognized as a mainstream sport. To participate in the league, gaming enthusiasts and gamers above 16 can register themselves on: https://www.itg.gg/.
Also read: Team India CS:GO and Tekken7 star Hitesh Khorwal secure berth at 13th Esports World Championship Global Finals
Mental health is a top priority as it helps me perform at a higher level - Indian shuttler Saneeth Dayanand
Hailing from Shimoga at almost 19 years of age, Indian badminton player Saneeth Dayanand has achieved a lot in a short career. From winning the Junior National Doubles in 2019, State Champion in Under 15 and 17 category to winning the FZ Forza Alpes International U-19 2021, Saneeth has been there and done that and is poised to do much more!
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Saneeth Dayanand speaks about being introduced to badminton and taking it up professionally, proudest moments of his career, badminton idols, importance of mental health, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) When were you first introduced to badminton and what motivated you to pursue this sport professionally?
The first sport that I played was football but then I had an allergy in my leg so the doctor asked me to stop playing outdoor sports and play something indoors. I started playing badminton in the eighth grade at a summer camp. One year after that I participated in a state tournament and ended up winning it. That is when I got my motivation to try and take up this sport as
Q 2) What are some of your proudest moments in your career and why?
Recently I won a French Junior International, that is probably my proudest moment because it was my first international tournament and I managed to win. I travelled and played on my own without coaches or my parents which was very challenging.
Q 3) Who were some of your badminton idols that you looked upto while growing up?
My badminton idols are former world number one Lee Chong Wei and my coach Arvind Bhat.
Q 4) According to you, how important of a role does mental health play in being able to give your 100% at the highest level?
For me mental health is a top priority and even when you are not physically 100% fit, you should focus on your mental health. When your mental health is good it can help you perform at higher levels.
Q 5) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
Basically all the major challenges I have faced in my career as of now are due to the Covid 19 pandemic as at one point I was India’s number 1 at U19 level. I thought that I would play and perform well in the national tournaments because of my ranking in the country but because of the pandemic many tournaments were cancelled as I feel these 2 years were mostly wasted for me. I tried to manage this by playing and convincing myself that I can do better.
Q 6) What are your goals and ambitions for the future? How do you plan to achieve them?
My future goal is to play in the Paris Olympics in 2024. My plan is to firstly break into the top 100 of the world, then top 50, top 20 and finally break into the top 10 in the world rankings as it will help achieve my ambition of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
If you wish to support Saneeth in any of the areas to see him excel, then please reach out to Simply Sport https://www.simplysport.in/donate.
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Double India's medal tally in Paris Olympics, create support system for athletes: VP
Chennai, Sep 9 (Sports news): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday called upon the nation to fix a target to double the medal tally in the 2024 Paris Olympics and also for building "all-encompassing support system" for the young and aspiring athletes.
India's stellar performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 had filled the hearts of the countrymen with pride and even more gratifying were the achievements of Paralympians who through their single-minded focus, grit and resilience brought home a record number of 19 medals propelling India into the top 25 at the para games, the Vice President said.
"This is a historic moment in India’s sporting journey and their exemplary performance has not only changed people's perception towards disability but has also kindled hopes of India emerging as a major sporting power," he said while virtually inaugurating the Tiruchirappalli Campus of SRM Institute of Science and Technology from the Raj Bhavan here.
"Let us set a target for ourselves to double the medal count in Paris Olympics in 2024 and lose no time in trying to achieve it," he said and urged all stakeholders, including the private sector, to come together to build an all-encompassing support system for the country's young and aspiring athletes.
"If an enabling ecosystem is created, I am sure, there are many more Avani Lekharas (who won a gold medal in rifle shooting in Tokyo 2020 Paralympics) and Neeraj Chopras (Javelin thrower who won gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics) waiting in the wings, whose talent can be nurtured successfully," he said. Educational institutions like SRM Institute whose student Nethra Kumanan, the first Indian sailor to qualify for the Olympics, should take a lead in this direction, the Vice President said.
On the challenge of employability, Venkaiah Naidu stressed the need to increase employability by focusing on the skills required for the Industry. "Every year, the country produces around 1.5 million engineers, but a survey suggests that only seven per cent of them are suitable for core engineering jobs," he pointed out. Hence, the emphasis must be on building a stronger academia-industry connection and ensuring that creative research results in the application of ground-breaking solutions.
The students on their part should equip themselves with emotional and social skills that will enable them to adapt to a rapidly changing world. "Develop a positive outlook towards life and seek to contribute to the larger cause of nation-building. Strive constantly to use your education for the good of others, society and the nation at large," he advised.
The services of the SRM group in collaborating with the Government on clinical trials with respect to COVID-19, and also in providing affordable and necessary healthcare facilities to those affected by the pandemic were commendable, he said. The Vice President appreciated the vision and leadership of the founder of the group, Dr T. R. Paarivendhar, and said the SRM group's focus on quality education is in tune with the Government's vision in laying the foundation for an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, founder Chancellor of SRM IST and Member of Parliament T R Paarivendhar, president, SRM IST, Niranjan, and chairman, SRM Groups, Ramapuram and Trichy Campuses Dr R Shivakumar were among those who attended the virtual event.
Also read: Sports Minister felicitates triumphant Paralympians, hopes for better show in 2024
News source: PTI