In the Shingnapur village of Kolhapur, in Maharashtra, the future of young sports stars seemed bleak. Students in the village school showed immense talent in various sports, but they had no access to proper coaching, and so they were losing out on opportunities.
Dr Vijay Suryawanshi who was the Kolhapur Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer in 2014, noticed this lack of facilities and decided to start a resident sports school in Kolhapur.
And just four years later, one of the students from the school has been selected for the Cadet World Wrestling Championship!
Disha Karande, a wrestling champ from the school will represent India in the championship in Croatia next month.
Dr Suryawanshi, an IAS officer, who is now the District Collector of Raigad, spoke about the concept of a resident sports school. He told Zee News, “The idea of starting a sports school was conceived when the taluka-level school tournaments were going on.
It was sad to see talented students lose their matches due to lack of proper coaching. We then decided to nurture their skills and get the best out of them.”
And so, the school with a hostel and schooling facility to accommodate over 100 students was started. Students are coached in 13 sports including kho kho, kabaddi, football, volleyball, archery, long jump, high jump, running and of course, wrestling.
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The Kolhapur residential sports school was the first of its kind. It took the matter of student admission seriously by only admitting those who children who were genuinely passionate about sports and saw their future on the field.
Dr Suryawanshi told Business Standard, “When we launched the school, students’ track records and their willingness to join the sports school were gauged during the interview. Those selected were imparted free coaching in their sports along with regular schooling, food and boarding facilities.”
It was important for the school to foster those who showed promise in sports. After all, the founder cherished a great dream for it.
“When I conceptualised the school, I dreamt that one day a student of this school will participate at international level and win accolades for the country,” Dr Suryawanshi told Outlook magazine.
And surely enough, Disha made a mark on an international platform in just four years of the school’s conception. “My happiness knew no bounds when I got the news of Disha Karande being selected for the world championship, fulfilling the dream of those who worked hard to bring up this school,” he added.
“I am happy to get a chance to represent India. My dream is to get an Olympics medal for the country,” concludes Disha.
Kudos to Dr Surywanshi for starting such an initiative and getting professional and long-term sports training to school students. We wish Disha all the very best and hope she fulfills her dream.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)