Gujarat is spearheading the world’s largest grassroots talent search programme
Ahmedabad, Feb 13: The run for discovering talented athletes across the country and bringing them to the pinnacle of success is ongoing at an encouraging speed and momentum. Both Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and National Inter District Junior Athletics Meet (NIDJAM) are the testimonies of it. This time NIDJAM is being organized on the holy land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Gujarat is also enthusiastic about this. This whole program is being spearheaded by the Government of Gujarat, Sports Authority of Gujarat, Athletics Federation of India, Gujarat University and Rural Electrification Corporation.
During the announcement of this program, dignitaries of the sports world were present. The Mascot of NIDJAM2024 was launched by Gujarat Sports Minister Harsh Sanghvi. In this program, the President of the Athletes Federation of India Adil J. Sumariwala, Principal Secretary to Government of Gujarat Ashwini Kumar, Director General of Sports Authority of Gujarat RS Ninama and and Secretary I.R. Vala, Swarnim Gujarat Sports University Vice-Chancellor Arjun Singh Rana remained present.
Informing about the upcoming sports program, Minister Harshbhai Sanghvi, that, “The state of Gujarat is now becoming a pioneer for sports. The tournament is being organized from February 16-18 in which participants from every state from Kashmir to Kanyakumari are taking part. 5500 sportspersons and other technical staff from 655 states together with 7500 people associated with sports have come to our state. NIDJAM is giving its best by hosting this tournament. The Gujarat government is making all-out efforts to get more and more people involved with sports”.
More than 5550 players from 616 districts of 31 states and Union Territories are participating in the 19th NIDJAM organized at Gujarat University ground in Ahmedabad city, in which 3365 boys while 2,193 girls are participating. But will provide complete guidance to the players, 19th NIDJAM 2024 will be inaugurated on 15th February in the evening by Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel.
The 300-acre Gujarat University campus will host the 19th edition of Athletics Federation of India (AFI)’s flagship event-NIDJAM (National Inter District Junior Athletics Meet) from February 16. While NIDJAM will promote grassroots sports in Gujarat, it will also showcase India’s ability to host major events as the government has expressed interest in bidding for the 2036 Olympic Games. AFI will conduct NIDJAM in Ahmedabad from February 16 to 18 in coordination with the Government of Gujarat and Sports Authority of Gujarat. 5,558 players from 615 districts have participated in the three-day event. The competition will be held in Under14 and Under16 boys and girls groups.
Each district is eligible to field a team of 13 members, including one male and one female official. All district teams are entitled to travel allowance and free accommodation. The three-day competition will give an opportunity to youngsters from remote parts of the country to showcase their talent on a big platform. The Gujarat University campus has good facilities, including a synthetic track and a large warm-up area AFI President Adil Sumariwala said.
The organizers have invited the national and international athletics community to witness the biggest grassroots event in India. World Athletics Kids Athletics Manager Catherine O’Sullivan, South America Area President Helio Gesta de Mello and Oceania Member Council of World Athletics Robin Sapong Eugenio will also be present on the occasion. India’s world bronze medalist in women’s long jump, Anju Bobby George, will be among the many prominent athletes present on the occasion. Before the competition begins, competitors will have to undergo a biometric and age verification system. Eligible athletes will be given a bib number.
To update the knowledge of budding athletes, seminars on over-training and side effects of use of performance-enhancing drugs will be held. Competitors will be fed three times a day. To avoid confusion a coupon will be issued to each District Contingency Head. The dining area is huge and can seat at least 2,000 athletes at a time. Breakfast time will be from 6 am to 10 am. Lunch timings are from 12 to 4 pm, while dinner will start at 6 pm and continue till 10 pm.
Besides the main kitchen, there will be refreshment stalls near the ground and for the athletes participating in the triathlon. “There will be provision of refreshments in the waiting arena for athletes participating in triathlon events,” the AFI president added. Last year the AFI Talent Identification Team shortlisted 900 athletes who have the potential to excel at future international events. A 15-day summer camp was also organized to further assess the abilities and potential of the promising players. “The same pattern of scouting talent will be followed in Ahmedabad this year,” Sumariwala added. The opening ceremony will be held on February 15 in Ahmedabad. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel and Sports Minister Harshbhai Sanghvi will be among the many officials present to encourage the budding athletes.