SPORT IT 2020: India’s first sports & innovation festival to kick off in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: Giving sports development a whole new dimension in Odisha, the Xavier Emlyon Business School (XEBS) in collaboration with Sports and Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha, announced SPORT IT 2020, the first-ever sports and innovation festival of India, to be held in the sports capital of India on January 18-19, 2020.

To be held under the auspices of XEBS-Ahluwalia Centre of Excellence for Sports Management, a unique collaboration between Xavier University, Bhubaneswar, emlyon business school, France, Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha and KJS Ahluwalia Group, SPORT IT 2020, will be a unique Indo-French collaboration and first of its kind in the country.

‘SPORT IT 2020’ would be inaugurated by Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Govt. of Odisha, Shri TusharkantiBehera and Minister for Industries and MSME, Govt. of Odisha, Captain Dibya Shankar Mishra while Chief Minister, Odisha, Naveen Patnaik is slated to attend the valedictory function as the Chief Guest. To be held at Kalinga Stadium, the festival has been timed to coincide with FIH Pro League 2020.

Talking about the initiative, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Odisha, Tusharkanti Behera, said, “With SPORT IT 2020, we wanted to create an inclusive platform that would not only  celebrate sports innovation and entrepreneurship but also involve sportspersons, sports start-ups, high-performance centres as well as students in a significant way.”

It will encourage the participants from the Sports fraternity, to meet, exchange knowledge, and learn from one another, he added.

The festival has three components – a ‘Sports Hackathon’ which is being organised in association with Start-up Odisha and Sports Unlimitech, the biggest sports and innovation festival in Europe, at XIMB with participation of 10 French students as well.

Sports Unlimitech has agreed to sponsor the winning team of the hackathon to Lyon in September for the second edition of their festival while Start-Up Odisha has offered pre-incubation and mentoring support.

After Bhubaneswar, the hackathon will be held in Lyon, Paris, Casablanca, Shanghai and Doha – the other centers of emlyon business school. FédéricMichalak, former France Rugby Captain, and CEO of Sports Unlimitech will be on screen from France to officially kick off the hackathon.

Second, ‘Start-up village’ will witness participation of sports startups from across India to showcase their domain of expertise as well as products. The startups would interact and network in an innovative way with industry experts, sportspersons, investors and the Department of Sports and Youth Services. As many as 12 startups from all across India working on sports technology, nutrition, flow monitoring, site-management, virtual reality and e-games are participating in the festival.

The start-up village will also witness roundtable discussions on sports and education, wellness, innovation and inclusion. The emlyon business school, France, has announced a cash award of Rs. One lakh for the best start-up, that would be selected by a team of investors.

The third element ‘Sports Marathon’ would witness various high performance centres and sports associations of Odisha setting up sports zones at the stadium and over 3000 students and public would learn and play different sports including  football, hockey, shooting, table tennis, tennis, basketball, karate besides a Decathlon zone, to their heart’s content in these zones!

For the first time, some of the High Performance Centres (HPC) operational in Odisha such as Abhinav Bindra Target Performance Centre and Tata Navel Hockey Academy besides Odisha FC would open their doors to school students through SPORT IT and take them on guided tours to give them a whole new experience of their state-of-art facilities.

While Atal Innovation Mission -NITI Aayog has joined hands with the event as a knowledge partner, Indian Sports Fan Club, has also become the global fan engagement partner for the event.

The event is also partnered by Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry and French Clubs like Olympique Lyonnais, Lou Rugby, LDLC ASVEL Féminin, LDLC Asvel, TONY PARKER ADEQUAT ACADEMY and CSR partners such as Sport dans la ville and Play and Study. Gupta Power is the principal sponsor of the event.

According to the Chairman of XEBS Ashley Fernandes, SportIT2020 is the perfect example of an experiential platform where there is no divide between learning, feeling and doing! This hybrid event is the perfect example of Indo-French collaboration and value creation in the field of education innovation, entrepreneurship and inclusion. With SportIT2020, we wish to change mindsets and impact our communities.

Appreciating the initiative, Dr Bertrand de Hartingh, Counsellor for Education, Science and Culture- Embassy of France in India and Country Director – French Institute in India said, “SportIT2020 is a very innovative, and first of its kind Indo-French event that leverages sport, education, and entrepreneurship. It reflects the virtue of cross-pollination and enhances a hybrid and creative approach embodied by XAVIER-EMLYON Business School, the first Indo-French Business School in India.  At IFI, we fully support this initiative and look forward to carrying this forward in the future. We are glad and not surprised that this is taking place in Odisha, the Sports Capital of India”.

With its vision to work towards inclusion, the festival will also be accessible to slum and underprivileged children and differently-abled children, to give them a taste of the vibrant sports ecosystem of Odisha and reasons to enjoy and cherish sports. They will also get a chance to rub shoulders with the sports entrepreneurs and learn, unlearn and relearn from them. The festival will remain open to the public from 930 am to 430 pm on January 18 and 930 am to 2 pm on January 19.

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