Category - Sports

Changing Mindsets: A Peek In The Life Of An Indian Para Athlete

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Sports has always been the fountainhead of positive change, beyond geographical and cultural boundaries. India’s performance at this year’s Rio Olympics has been pleasantly surprising, especially as the women of our country came out with power packed performances. A relatively lesser known fact is that the Indian Paralympic contingent registers more wins than the able-bodied participants. They had a staggering number of 173 wins in the 2015 LA Special Olympics.

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Keeping with this feel, members of team Ketto got in conversation with Indian para-athlete, cyclist and inspirational celebrity Aditya Mehta. A Limca Book record holder and Asian cycling champion, Aditya runs the Aditya Mehta Foundation, India’s first and only NGO that supports Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) to take up sports as a means of personal coping and livelihood generation. With an international presence, they do so through a series of counselling sessions, camps, engagement drives, programs and various other activities.

Here are 4 path-breaking ways in which Aditya Mehta is revolutionising the society for differently-abled sportspersons in India:

Changing Infrastructure 

Aditya has been ardently advocating for PWD-friendly infrastructure, in an attempt to make spaces as inclusive as possible.

“When I look 10 years back, I had lost all hope after my amputation. Going to the mall was difficult, as people had to carry me on their shoulders. Now I see people have started having ramps in malls and everything. People are also coming up with different concepts for PWD (Persons With Disabilities) friendly malls with ramps, washrooms etc.”

 The Aditya Mehta Foundation works towards rehabilitating civilians as well as the BSF jawans who lost their limbs on duty


The Aditya Mehta Foundation works towards rehabilitating civilians as well as the BSF jawans who lost their limbs on duty

 

Giving India It’s First Batch Of Qualified Classifiers 

“In a developing country like ours, there is shortage of qualified professional classifiers”, says Aditya. “Any para-athlete who wants to play an international tournament must obtain a classification certificate for categorisation of matches on the basis of the kind and extent of disability before s/he can play any championship. As of now, a player has to travel abroad for the same.”

Aditya’s next big goal is to sponsor classifier certification courses for 4 to 5 physiotherapists, so that any athlete who wishes to compete isn’t compelled to spend on travel abroad in the absence of locally present classifiers. This would be the first batch of qualified classifiers in India!

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Addressing The Need For Sponsors

The most important challenge today is the fact that para athletes need sponsors. However, the Aditya Mehta Foundation has managed to change that reality. They receive support from many celebrities who believe in the cause of the foundation. They are also running fundraisers for various causes on Ketto, where anyone who believes in their cause can support and contribute.

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Changing mindsets around disability

We always tend to look at a PWD with sympathy, as if they are disabled. Aditya is changing that understanding too. “People who showed me sympathy and called me bechara, now I call them bechara. They can’t do the things that I can do. Ask an able bodied to ride with me for my warm up. I am sure they will go home and sleep for 2 hours after. I truly believe that it is not about your body, it’s about your mind.”

“In three years, we have counselled 500 to 600 people, including 350 BSF jawans. The kind of appreciation we get, the smiles we see on people’s faces – that is life I feel.”

One of the participants at the infinity ride

One of the participants at the infinity ride

Sports changes lives. Not only is it a source of physical and psychological strength, but also the means to achieve the self and social dignity that everyone deserves to live with. If you feel that the achievements of our para-athletes deserve your love and support, you can share or donate to one of the multiple fundraisers that Aditya Mehta Foundation has started for para- sports.

Want to know more about Aditya Mehta and his work? Find out all the information here.

Slum Soccer: Scoring big!

When was the last time you chatted with your chaiwala, while sipping a cuppa? Have you ever spoken to a child who lives in a slum, about his or her life? Do you know the kind of work-hours an average cab driver puts in a day, or the personal problems of your kaamwali bai? Uncomfortable questions? Yes. Irrelevant questions? Absolutely not.

These are the very questions that also happened to trouble Mel Young and Harald Schmied and they decided to do something about it. These two acquaintances came up with a brilliant idea of a ‘Football World Cup for the Homeless’ in 2001. They reasoned that what poor or homeless kids need is not charity. They need respect, an identity, and a life-changing experience. And what better way to do that than through sports?

The strength of the idea and the organizational skills of these two founders have made the Homeless World Cup a high-profile event today. The 2015 version, held at Amsterdam, between September 12 and 19 saw 63 countries participate. India was one of them.

For over a century, Indian NGOs have been working for various sections of the underprivileged. Slum Soccer, a Nagpur based organization is one of them. It involves children from slums or low-income families in sporting activities. The promoters of Homeless World Cup have been working closely with them and other organizations, to identify and coordinate participants from India for this annual event.

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The 2015 Indian squad consisted of 10 boys and 10 girls from underprivileged families. While the event organizers pay for food, accommodation and local travel, participating teams must pay for their visas and air tickets. While previously, Slum Soccer and other organizations raised these funds through donations, in 2015, they decided to try a more effective approach.

Ketto, being the largest crowdfunding website in India, was the default choice. An exclusive page was created for the Indian squad, on Ketto’s website. An appeal was included for people, to contribute liberally towards the required amount of 8 lakh. The organizers were pleasantly surprised as the required amount was raised in less than a month. The Indian squad could participate in the event without any hassle, thereby scripting one more success story for Ketto.

 

What makes Ketto popular is the ease with which anybody can raise funds, irrespective of their background. Which means that if you have a meaningful cause, you can start an online campaign on Ketto overnight to raise funds. Rest assured, Ketto will help you manage the entire process for better results.

Director Navneet Prakash on ‘Sons of Speed’, A Racing Documentary With Freddie Hunt & Mathias Lauda

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[‘Sons of Speed’ promises to be a sports documentary that’ll have you hooked, and the team’s also giving away some pretty sweet rewards for contributing to the campaign. Click here to chip in and be a part of this film’s journey.]

After digging a little deeper into veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal’s pioneering tryst with crowdfunding with his 1976 film ‘Manthan’, we turn to a more contemporary film in the making that is looking for some support. ‘Sons of Speed’ is a documentary on a less-discussed sport that’s tearing up the tarmac in India — auto racing.

We caught up with Navneet Prakash, writer and director of the film, to tell us a little bit about what working on the film has been like, and why the team turned to crowdfunding for the passion project.

Q. Tell us a little bit about you and your team’s background in filmmaking, and your passion for racing. How did the idea for Sons of Speed came along?

I’ve been working in the field of non-fiction content for about 6 years now, and it’s a medium that I’m very comfortable with. I’ve also followed motorsports for the longest time; I attend rally racing events, and I’m very keen on the sport.

Racing is India is a pretty small circle; I have a producer on the team, Divya Menon, with whom I have a common friend – Jose Pottamkulam Ootta. A motorsports enthusiast himself, Jose has actually been running a team in Kerala calling M&N Racing and participates in rallies.

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All of us would hang out and discuss films and sports, when Jose mentioned that he was getting Freddie Hunt and Mathias Lauda together to race for the championship last year, in 2014. That’s when we decided on creating a simple television film being made for local and national sports channels, about the legendary rivalry between them.

We couldn’t find sponsors for the project, but once we started shooting – I realised that this was not a PR event or a corporate AV, it was a really interesting story that needed to be told. That’s when we decided that we’d make this a proper standalone film.

Q. Tell us a little bit about what each of you were in charge of, and how you came up with the name.

All the creatives have been handled by me, while Divya has worked on the ads, production and logistics aspects. Jose is our go-to guy in case we need to clear up technicalities about the sport. I was thinking of writing a treatment for the film, and ‘Sons of Speed’ just had a great ring to it, and we really believed in it.

The film is about racing, but also about them being sons of legends in the international racing circle.

Q. What is the approach you’ve taken for the documentary, and how do you feel it sets it apart?

Initially, we were very focused on numbers, on who was winning and laptimes and such. When we met Freddie Hunt and Mathias Lauda and started talking, though, the two turned out to be very nice, regular guys who had no airs about them. They were easy to work with and had a great story to tell.

Sons of Speed video from g33k films on Vimeo.

Their fathers being world champions in their own right, Freddie and Mathias were born with a lot of expectations from them, and it was interesting to explore the father-son relationship in this unique way. This also gave the racing documentary a more human angle.

Q. How easy was it to incorporate such personal stories into the film’s narrative, how did you go about that?

We had a broad outline in mind that we were looking to shoot, and as interesting as a racing documentary is — fathers are much more of an icebreaker. (laughs)

There’s a pretty nice line in the documentary that sums it up, ‘No matter where you are on the racetrack, these two will continue to get compared to each other because of the families they come from. This kind of fame is a double-edged sword.’ To be living with so much pressure on you all the time is not easy, and the fact that they’re handling it so well is interesting to observe and document.

Q. How did you chance upon crowdfunding?

Finance was a big challenge — a documentary is a scary word, particularly in India. People expect something slow and boring; there are various kinds of documentaries and you can have a non-fiction role on a very interesting topic, yet it remains a fairly unpopular idea. I was very glad that Kunal found the idea as interesting as I did, and that he agreed to host our campaign on Ketto.

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The easiest thing to do in this process is actually making the film — the backend is very difficult to navigate and because of the funding issues, it’s often tough to mount the project.

I did a crowdfunded project in 2013 called ‘Shweta’s Kranti’, about a girl from Bombay’s red light area, that was also made for Ketto. It really worked, and I think crowdfunding is a great idea — it should be more popular here as it’s so accessible. It gives good films a chance to see the light of day, and to actually reflect the people’s (or the backers’) interests and beliefs.

Q. What have been your favourite moments working on the film so far?

We were lucky to travel to some of the best racetracks in the world, and got a chance to shoot with Nicki Lauda — Mathias’ father and the original racing world champion. He’s a legendary man, who also happens to be extremely down-to-earth. That was a great day of shoot, but I think we had fun every day that we were shooting.

Thanks to crowdfunding, with the right vision and the right people, a dream documentary project like this is actually possible today. Besides funding our campaign, you can help spread the word by sharing our campaign page on Facebook and other social media.

[‘Sons of Speed’ promises to be a sports documentary that’ll have you hooked, and the team’s also giving away some pretty sweet rewards for contributing to the campaign. Click here to chip in and be a part of this film’s journey.]

Bhakti Sharma Does It Again!

Open-water swimmer Bhakti Sharma Tweets about breaking world record

Ketto is proud to be part of world record holder, open-water swimmer Bhakti Sharma’s amazing success.

If you were to meet her in passing, Bhakti Sharma would seem like just another twenty-something lass, making her way into adulthood. If you were to delve just a little bit deeper, you would realise you’re in the presence of some incredible talent.

This young lady is an open-water swimmer par excellence. Why are we using a superlative to describe her? Why a fancy French one at that? Because it’s a spot on description of the talented young lady! After all, Bhakti has just broken all kinds of world records! She just set a new world record by swimming 1.4 miles of the freezing Antarctic Ocean (it was at a temperature of one degree Celsius), in an amazing 52 minutes.

And that’s not all. She has now swum in all five oceans of the world, in addition to other water bodies. “I’ve broken the #WorldRecord for being the ‘Youngest swimmer in the World to #swim in all oceans’,” she Tweets. Bhakti has conquered the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and now the Antarctic Ocean. She’s also swum the English Channel, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea and others.

Why is Ketto bursting with pride and excitement? Because Bhakti Sharma campaigned on our website and successfully raised nearly 8 lakhs for her swim in the Antarctic Ocean, dedicating it to girl-child education. We are proud as peacocks to be part of Bhakti’s mission to conquer the Antarctic and the world!

Bhakti adds, “I have just broken a World Record for my country, #India! Thank you all for your #support!” In a country where most sports (save cricket) are severely marginalized, we’re honoured to be able to provide talented sportspeople an avenue to gather support. Ketto is proud to be part of Bhakti’s success and India’s progress.

Here’s to more laurels for Bhakti Sharma and for India!

Want to know more about Bhakti? Click me!
Want to check out her campaign? Click me!
Want to gather support for your own talent? Click to get started!

And it’s GOLD!!

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The 6 feet 9 inch tall guy has done it again. But it’s a GOLD this time. Vikas Gowda the most successful and a passionate Indian discus thrower won a GOLD medal at the Commonwealth Games 2014 held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Born in the land of Kings (Mysore), Grew up from Fredrick Maryland, U.S. Ever since then, he has been trained by his father first, Another Former athlete and national coach of the Indian cricket team.  His strong desire and hard work is what has paid off for him today. His personal best throw in discuss is 66.90 meters which is also in the Indian National records. Few of his exceptional achievements are Gold medal at the 2014 commonwealth game, silver medal at 2010 commonwealth game, National record and 8th to finish at the London Olympics 2012. Apart from his sporting life, he has even completed his Majors in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina.

The pillar behind the success of Vikas Gowda is OGQ. Its they who believed in Vikas when no one else did. OGQ (Olympic Gold quest) is an NGO who has been Campaigning with ketto to raise funds for these aspiring and successful athlete to reach their goals. They helps to bridge the gap between the best athletes in India with the best athletes of the world helping them win Olympic gold medals.  Athletes like KT Irfan (speed walker), Vikas Gawda (discus thrower), Pooja Ghatkar and Ayonika Paul (air rifle shooters) were lucky to have the NGO Olympic Gold Quest supporting them, helping them get the training and equipment they sorely needed to prepare for the competitions.

KETTO feels proud to campaign with OGQ, which has helped these athlete to be the stars of their MOTHERLAND!

 More details on OGQ visit our ketto website

 

From Rural Fields to Football Fields! (YUWA campaign’s superb success)


front-yuwa-thumbnail1Ketto helped raise a whopping INR 50 lakhs (INR 51,86,460 to be precise!) for the YUWA India Trust campaign, to send a football team consisting of 15 underprivileged tribal girls from Jharkhand to the 2014 USA Cup.

Founder and CEO of Ketto, Varun Sheth, stated: “623 funders backed the campaign that closed in 30 days flat through June. Star Sports came on board with us to help promote this campaign as our goal was on a higher side and we needed them to promote the initiative across television and power it online too.”

That’s the power of crowdfunding for you!!

Check out the super-successful campaign! 

Read what the media says about the YUWA campaign and your very own Ketto! 

Rajni Jha: Her Success is India’s Pride

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Rajni Jha is an incredible para-athlete who, despite being afflicted by polio, hasn’t let it stop her from winning laurels. Hailing from Gwalior, this inspiring young woman set her focus straight ahead, and has been making strides in para-swimming events, both nationally and internationally.

The NGO GoSports soon spotted her talent and took her under its wing, sponsoring her through fundraising initiatives, such as her campaign on Ketto, so she could access the training and facilities she required.

Among her laurels is the Ekalavya award – the most prestigious sporting award for athletes at the state level – conferred on her in 2007 by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Rajni hasn’t looked back since, and has continued to win several medals nationally. In 2009, she won 4 Golds and 1 Bronze at the IWAS World Games in Bangalore. In 2012, she won 3 Golds and 1 Bronze at the National Para-Swimming Championships in Chennai. And in 2013, she won 2 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze at the same event held in Bangalore.

She’s gradually preparing to compete – and win – at the Rio Olympics to be held in 2016! You can cheer her on sooner, though! She’s also aiming to compete at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, Korea this October. Ra ra Rajni Jha!

Get to know more about Rajni Jha, one of India’s best para-swimmers, by clicking here to view her successfully-funded Ketto campaign!

The Silver Lining – Ayonika Paul Bags The Silver

Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) , a non-profit that promotes sports in India, began a campaign on Ketto for Ayonika Paul , a 22-year-old 10-m air rifle shooter from Mumbai, to raise INR 5 lakhs so she could train and compete on an international platform. One of the international competitions on her list was the 2014 Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Her crowdfunding campaign not only raised its goal amount, but surpassed it by reaching INR 6,27,877 with the help of 167 supporters. One of these supporters was none other than Bollywood celebrity Amitabh Bachchan, who pledged a generous amount to sponsor two of OGQ’s athletes (Ayonika Paul and Pooja Ghatkar, both air rifle shooters) reach their goal amounts.

Getting funded successfully on Ketto helped Ayonika access the necessary gear and equipment she required to train – a 0.177 Walther Air Rifle. It also allowed her to train in Vienna under world class coach Thomas Farnik, enabling her to be on par with her international counterparts.

Ketto is thrilled to share that Ayonika Paul has won India a silver medal in the 10-Metre Air Rifle for Women at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and is continuing to aim for more medals.

Ayonika Paul had begun her winning streak at the tender age of 18, when she made headlines with her consistent top scores. (No small feat in a country that has yet to embrace sports wholeheartedly.) Now 22 years old, Ayonika has made significant strides in the 10m Air Rifle event since.

She has won the Gold at the International Junior Shooting Competition in Munich in 2008, multiple medals in the Junior National Shooting Championships as well as the Senior National Championships, all in the face of some stiff domestic competition.

Ayonika’s journey will continue as she sets her eyes on the next international competition – the 2014 Asian Games to be held in Incheon, Korea, scheduled between September and October this year. The air rifle shooter also aims at qualifying, participating and winning at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) was founded by Indian sporting legends Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone. OGQ is a programme of the Foundation for Promotion of Sports and Games, a Not for Profit (Section 25) Company, which is committed to bridging the gap between the best athletes in India and the best athletes in the world thus helping Indian athletes to win Olympic Gold medals. OGQ aims to create a level playing field for our athletes to enable them to be competitive at the highest level of sport.

OGQ has made the following statement regarding Ayonika Paul’s success at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games: “Olympic Gold Quest is very proud to support the training of athletes like shooter Ayonika Paul who recently won the silver medal in the 10m air rifle event of the CWG 2014. Like Ayonika, we support the training of currently 56 other athletes across 6 sports with a mission to win Olympic gold medals. However, this would not have been possible without the support of all our funders and supporters. We constantly endeavor to raise funds to support our athletes. Ketto has helped us reach out to many proud and patriotic Indians who want to contribute in a small way to see Indian athletes stand on the medal podium.”

Ketto is a virtual space where online crowdfunding for social causes is made a reality. It is where individuals, corporate and NGOs come together to effect social change by starting campaigns for causes and promoting their campaign pages among their networks to gather support and raise their funding goal.

Ketto made the following statement on Ayonika Paul’s recent silver-medal win: “We are proud to have been a part of Ayonika Paul’s journey and applaud her talent, hard work and recent success at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. We were thrilled for her successful campaign on Ketto and are thrilled further by her continuing successes. We have several OGQ athletes campaigning on Ketto and hope to see more such talented sportspeople get the support and funds they deserve to access the necessary training gear, facilities and coaching to be able to compete both nationally and internationally. We hope to assist many such talented athletes as they compete to win medals for India.”

Bend It Like Bollywood! (Tigi Foundation)

TIGI Foundatioin leaderboardWe’re counting down to the star-studded football charity match that’s happening at the Cooperage Football Grounds in Mumbai this Sunday evening! The testosterone levels are rising…! Celebrities like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Imran Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Tiger Shroff, Sohail Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Dino Morea, Marc Robinson and so many more will be on the battlefield this monsoon. There’s going to be plenty of estrogen pumping through the field as well, with Kiran Rao, Nargis Fakhri, Hazel Keech, Elli Avram and Kiara Advani lacing up their cleats as well!

Here’s the entire player line-up: Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Imran Khan, Kiran Rao, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Rahul Bose, Sohail Khan, Tiger Shroff, Sushanth Singh, Ram Sampat, Karanvir Bohra,  Armaan Jain, Hazel Keech, Kunal Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Elli, Kiara, Raj Kundra, Karan Wahi, Dino Morea, Shoojit Sircar, Marc Robinson, Caesar Gonsalves, Karan Mehra, Shabir Ahluwalia, Sachiin Joshi, Ritwik Bhattacharya, Vikram Thapa, Ameet Gaur, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Vikram Singh. Whew! Everyone’s coming together to help Tigi Foundation raise funds and build a shelter for Mumbai’s abandoned animals.

If you’re wondering what ‘TIGI’ means, it’s an acronym for ‘Trust In Goodness Inside’ and is also the name of a much-beloved pet cat belonging to the Khan household. Tigi Foundation is a wonderful non-profit organisation begun by Nuzhat Khan in 2012 and is supported by her son, actor Imran Khan, and brother, activist/actor Aamir Khan. Nuzhat Khan, a psychoanalyst by profession, has nurtured over a hundred animals at her Pali Hill home over the years, and felt the need to do more. Thus began Tigi Foundation. May its tribe increase!

This celebrity-packed football charity event aims to raise funds and build a state-of-the-art animal welfare shelter near Mumbai that will provide TLC for a hundred animals at a time. To achieve this goal, the foundation is offering some rather exciting rewards, like an opportunity to participate in the charity football match itself, or toss the coin at the start of the game, or attend a cooking session with Kiran Rao, or a workout with Imran Khan, a drive in his Ferrari, or even a chance to visit the sets of Aamir Khan’s latest film!

Here’s the entire list of rewards:

500      Get a ticket to the game (Quantity – 1000)

5000    Get an exclusive digital photo-collage of all the players at the event (Unlimited) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

7500      Click a selfie with your favorite actor at the game- Rs 7500 (Unlimited) + Get a ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

10,000   Get a cooking session with filmmaker Kiran Rao (Quantity – 1) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 12500 Toss the match coin prior to the game- (Quantity-1) + Get a ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

15000 Get a copy of the Dhoom 3 DVD with a personal autograph from Aaamir Khan & Abhishek Bachchan  (Quantity – 3) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

20000    Get a signed jersey of both teams (Quantity – 3) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 50,000   Either work-out with Imran Khan at his personal gym or a drive around Mumbai with him in his Ferrari (Quantity – 2) + Get a ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 75,000         Get a chance to hang out with Aamir Khan on the sets of his next film ‘P.K.’  (Quantity – 1) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 1,00,000  Get to be part of the team and play in the upcoming game on 20th July (Quantity – 1) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Want a chance to be part of the fun?!

 

Not Just A Sport Anymore

2All of us are brimming with passion. Some things that we are utterly passionate about can do us good. Sometimes, however, the things that we are passionate about can also do others good. Gurmangal Dass is an individual who turned his personal passion into a belief on a national scale.

He had a passion for sports. So after he was done with education, instead of opting for easy success and money, he chose the road less travelled. His main agenda was to revive sports across the state of Punjab, one village at a time. It seemed like an impossible task at first, but this gentleman was not about to quit easily.

It started off with the actual making of the football field with farmers traveling far distances to collect grass to make the field. Next came the part where youngsters were lured to take up this path and excel in the field of sports. What started as one man’s dream has now grown into a collective one. Today, there are over 40 students in the football academy and over 12 centres for coaching all over Punjab.

Heroes like Gurmangal Dass often go unnoticed. It is essential to acknowledge the presence and dedication of unsung heroes like him. It is people like these who, while they dream big, facilitate others in the pursuit of their own dreams too.