New Delhi: The Olympians Association of India (OAI) today recalled the power of sport in uniting peoples and cultures to mark the Olympic Day and vowed to work for the betterment of those who have brought laurels to the country so that they do not become “forgotten heroes”.
Joining hands with their counterparts all over the world in celebrating the World Olympic Day, the Indian Olympians’ umbrella body said it was facilitating various programmes to have the Olympians contribute their experiences and expertise to inspire all, including the next generation of budding champions.
“Recognising the power of sport and the Olympic movement, we look inwards at our 1985 Indian Olympians who have represented our country at Olympic Games since 1900,” the OAI said in a press release.
“In the Olympic Charter, Olympism is expressed as a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles,” it added.
OAI President Shiva Keshavan, who has represented the country in six Winter Olympics, said, “Every four years we got inspired by these special individuals who reached the pinnacle of the sporting world in pursuit of excellence. They proudly marched behind our Indian flag and were lauded, but later they were the forgotten heroes.
“Going ahead, OAI would like to impact all the past and future Olympians. It’s going to be a challenging journey, but we have to be patient and put our heads down and work. With the support of our Olympians and Indian fraternity, we believe we are headed in the right direction,” he added.
Formed in 2015 to serve the Indian Olympians and further the cause of Olympism, the OAI is affiliated to the World Olympians Association (WOA) — an integrated part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
OAI General Secretary Malav Shroff said, “As a not-for-profit organisation, we sought to do something for the Olympians, by the Olympians. We envisage ourselves as an alumni association for the Indian Olympians looking to act as a support system for them while encouraging them to give back to the sport and society in general.
Five Sports Education sessions have been conducted at academies across India… Olympians highlighted the finer points of sports excellence and provided real solutions to everyday issues and shared their journey as an Olympian to motivate the trainees, their parents and coaches.
“Also, Academic Education has been enabled at three academies for young promising sportspersons who do not have the means or access to proper education,” said Shroff, who is also a board member of the WOA.
Olympian sprinter and OAI treasurer Adille Sumariwalla said: “Olympians deserve recognition, respect and dignity. They are role models and assets for our nation. In our country, sport is slowly gaining the importance it deserves. At OAI we believe we can further this cause by collaborating with the government, sports administration bodies and various stakeholders.
“We aim to act as the welfare wing for Indian sports and supplement the efforts of the more established sports administration bodies such as Sports Authority of India and Indian Olympic Association. We hope to pool all the resources available for the continued development and improvement of our country’s sport and ecosystem in general.
To mark the 70th anniversary of World Olympic Day, the OAI is releasing a video titled ‘Olympism – Around Us, About Us, Within Us.’ The video will be available for worldwide viewing on www.IndianOlympians.in and its other social media handles.