Bhubaneswar: Former Indian National Hockey team Captain Dhanraj Pillay and former cricketer Nilesh Kulkarni interacted with more than 7000 school children across 70 schools of Sundargah District today.
Connecting the school kids through VSAT based technology, developed by Valuable Edutainment, the eminent sportspersons discussed on the importance of sports.
The interaction programme to increase awareness of sports at the grassroots level was organised by Valuable Group, IISM Mumbai and Education Department of Odisha.
The guests addressed the schoolchildren from Mumbai studio and extolled the importance of sports and available glorious career opportunities.
This Virtual Interaction Programme happened on a satellite-based platform using the latest technology where the dignitaries interacted, shared their experiences, tips and answered their queries.
The Government of Odisha is keenly focussed on the development of sports at the grassroots level and has put efforts into becoming a global sports destination. The recent big events in Hockey and Athletics have uplifted Odisha as a hot destination of top sporting events. In the recently concluded Khelo India Youth Games, the state bagged 15 medals including 3 Golds.
In the presence of officials of Sundargarh: District Education Officer, Shri Ranjan Kumar Giri and District Welfare Officer, Shri Sunil Kumar Trivedi, the sportsmen also answered and engaged with the questions of these schoolchildren.
Speaking to children, Dhanraj Pillay said “First I would like to congratulate our respected Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji who is focusing on Digital India. It is only because of this project, young children from our small towns and villages are getting connected with others in India.”
Responding to a question from a school student, Dhanraj said “When you stay in small towns, you manage to play Hockey without chappals, shoes or broken but mended hockey sticks. And when you come to a bigger city, it gives you better training and facilities. If you want to become good players, then you have to develop such small towns.”
When yet another student asked him whether he wants to get into politics, Dhanraj stated “Politics is not for me. I am a born Hockey player and will continue to remain so, dedicating myself to improve hockey.”
On India’s Hockey Team he said “Our Hockey Team is very good. It is putting all the efforts that are needed. A single opportunity is required. We need not get discouraged because we could not get the Hockey and Cricket World Cup. I believe that it is essential to have consistency in the Team and that is what the players in these tournaments should focus upon. I extend my best wishes to our Hockey Team for the forthcoming Olympics. Our Team is very good led by captain Manjeet.”
Addressing questions, Nilesh Kulkarni said, “Digital India offers a major opportunity for those children who are unable to learn the sports in their towns as this technology is enabling them to speak and learn from interactions with those who are achievers in sports. All required inputs on sports’ skills including team building or leadership are shared and school children who are already on a learning mode can pick up this information and put it in practice.”