- Anantapur Sports Academy’s sport for development project is awarded by the Department of Sports, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India.
- The award recognises the efforts of the project to use sports as a tool to hone the abilities of rural children and youth, address their challenges and promote social change.
Rayalseema Development Trust’s, who are our local partners in Anantapur, sports for development program through the Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) has been awarded with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar for 2019.
The award was conferred by the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind in a ceremony held on 29th August 2019 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on the occasion of National Sports Day. Program Director, Moncho Ferrer received the award.
The objective of the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar is to encourage and promote the involvement of corporates, voluntary organisations, sports control boards, etc., in the promotion and development of sports. The award is given in four categories, one of which is sport for development – the category in which ASA received the award.
Responding to the recognition, Mr. Moncho Ferrer said, “We appreciate the efforts of the government to recognise initiatives that contribute towards the development of children and communities through sports. This award advocates the importance of utilising sports as a tool for socio-economic development and youth empowerment in India.”
Sai Krishna Pulluru, Director of Anantapur Sports Academy said, “This as an achievement of all the people right from the grassroots to the international level who have played a role, big or small, long or short term, and whose valuable support enabled us to reach out to more children and youth continuously through sports.”
The sports programme began in the 80s as a medium to encourage extra-curricular activities and to retain children and youth in schools. In 2000, the organisation started the academy to increase the focus on sports to hone the abilities of children and youth in rural areas and to provide support to them in the form of equipment, infrastructure and professional coaching.
But the mission of the project goes beyond sports.
“I have personally always loved sports and believe in its power of bringing change at the grassroots. This recognition reaffirms our commitment to promote the culture of sports in rural India through ASA and use it as a medium to advance socio-economic empowerment, gender equality and livelihood opportunities,” says Moncho.
The academy follows a pyramid approach to ensure regular and sustainable access at the grassroots, provide structured support for holistic growth at the development centres and nurture skilled and motivated athletes with focused training at the Anantapur Sports Village, a day boarding and residential facility.
Currently, ASA runs programs in the seven sporting disciplines of hockey, football, cricket, judo, softball, kho-kho, and kabaddi, through 90 centers across Anantapur district engaging around 11,000 children and youth, with 45% being girls.
“This award belongs to everyone in Anantapur. It puts a greater responsibility on our shoulders to work beyond duty to fulfill our mission of making sports accessible to all,” states Moncho.
Text: Ernest Abhishek, Felita Viegas