While the record-breaking viewer statistics of Super Bowl XLVIII proved that the sport is still America’s pastime, across the world in India there is a similar love for the game of cricket. Cricket’s popularity in the region dates back centuries to the expansion of the British empire.
Today, organizations like the GoSports Foundation continue to promote athleticism in the country. Since 2007 the organization has had one goal – to empower India’s future Olympians. In line with their desire to provide young Indian athletes with the necessary professional and financial support, they’ve partnered with Rahul Dravid, former Indian Cricketer. Dravid was awarded the International Cricket Council Player of the Year and the Test Player of the Year in 2004. This year he announced that will join the board of advisors of GoSports Foundation and will also institute the Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme. Dravid will hand pick athletes for his mentorship program, and along with his team of experts he will provide training sessions and performance feedback for the athletes pursuing their chance at the Olympics.
The Indian presence in the Olympics had not often been a strong one. The country holds 26 Olympic medals, zero from the Winter Olympics. Like Dravid, the Indian sport of choice is cricket, a pastime that hasn’t been a part of the games for more than a hundred years.In recent years support for the country’s athletes has improved. At the London Olympics in 2012, India took home six medals. And at this year’s Winter Olympics at Sochi Indian athletes will be participating again, but they will not represent India. Due to a prior suspension of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Indian athletes walked under the Olympic flag as independents. The IOA was reprimanded because of corrupt leadership, but scheduled their reelection days after the games began.
Still organizations like the GoSports Foundation shed light on a brighter future for India’s competitors. According to the article published in The Times of India Dravid will be hosting a charity dinner event at the end of February to support the new program.
In speaking on the association Dravid summed up his thoughts on the new initiative, “winning at sport is as much about processes as it is about outcomes and I feel that we must put in place [programs] that address the most important needs of young sportsmen and sportswomen as they prepare for competition. I have seen the pride and joy that success at sports brings and I want to participate in the lives and journeys of our young Olympians and Paralympians.”