Ahmedabad, Sept 24In the backdrop of the 36th National Games to be held in Gujarat next week, Sportstar held its first West Sports Conclave in Ahmedabad on Saturday, where sportspersons, professionals, policy makers and experts discussed the best practices in sports and the emerging focus areas to nurture a dynamic sports ecosystem.

During the Conclave, Gujarat Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Pradip Parmar, presented the Hero Unsung Champion and Emerging Hero awards to cricket coach Mukund Parmar and young shuttler Tasnim Mir.

“Gujarat has engaged grassroots sports enthusiasts with the Khel Maha Kumbh and Ramshe Gujarat, Jitshe Gujarat initiatives. While training and learning are part of these initiatives, it also encourages sports talent at the grassroot level to explore their sporting skills,“ the Minister said in his address.

The day-long conclave included discussions on the present state of sports in India and focus areas for the future, such as creating world-class infrastructure with scientific training systems, assuring financial security for sportspersons, both retired and playing, creating opportunities for public-private partnership in creating sporting facilities and institutions, among others.

Noted sports administrator and President of the Gujarat State Football Association, Parimal Nathwani, shared insights on building the world’s largest cricket stadium, Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad. “Besides cricket, we are committed to pushing football, which will emerge as an important sport in the next three-four years,” he said.

Ashwani Kumar, the state’s Secretary - Sports, Youth and Cultural Affairs, said the upcoming National Games will boost the sports ecosystem in the State. About 14,500 people, including 7,415 athletes, will participate in the Games to be conducted across six cities in the state. “The Gujarat government has rolled out a sports policy and incentives for sports manufacturers in line with other industries. We will also soon bring a policy for para sports,” said Kumar.

Asian Para Games medallist, Bhavina Patel, and tennis player Ankita Raina shared their experiences on the world stage. Former Indian cricketer Parthiv Patel, international cricketer Kiran Navgire and cricket administrator Ratnakar Shetty were part of a panel that discussed the need for State cricket associations to implement player contracts.

Other participants included noted billiards champion and founder of Olympic Gold Quest, Geet Sethi, nine-time national badminton champion Aparna Popat, and Olympic medallist MM Somaya.

The conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, the K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management, Indian Oil, Shiv Naresh, Stag International, SBI and LIC.

The first edition of the Sportstar Sports Conclave was held in Kerala in 2021. The conclave has also been held in Guwahati, Chennai and Lucknow.

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