Apr 10, 2014
Para-athletes are given little attention in our country. Only recently Bangalore Mirror had reported a story on HN Girisha Paralympic silver medalist at the London Games struggling for funds to train and participate at international events despite winning the first ever medal for India at the big games.
However with the new directive introduced by the ministry of corporate affairs has brought a ray of hope for struggling athletes in the country. The new law states that promoting rural sports, nationally recognized sports, Olympic and Paralympic sports is one of the few recognized categories of activities for companies to invest through Corporate Social Responsibility.
This means, from April 1, companies having net worth of at least Rs 500 crore or having minimum turnover of Rs1000 crore or those with at least net profit of Rs 5 crore have to make CSR spend worth 2 percent of their threeyear profit including sports.
The first athlete to benefit from this initiative is Paralympic swimmer Sharath M Gayakwad of Bangalore. The World No.7 ranked swimmer who trains at the PM Swim Centre is leaving to Berlin on April 22 for the 2014 International German Swimming Championship, a qualifying event for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, and his entire trip including entry fee, travel, accommodation, food and sports kit is funded by Infinite Computer Solutions housed in Whitefield.
It's been learnt that the company is also keen on endorsing the swimmer and support him right up to the Rio Olympics in 2016. "Since PCI is not getting any funding from the government, we (athletes) are forced to go for qualifying meets on our own funding. I wanted to participate at the German Championship since I wanted to qualify in seven events for the Asian Games and was eagerly looking for help," Sharath told Bangalore Mirror.
Sharath found help though former athlete and sports enthusiast Elvis Joseph. Sharath is currently ranked No.1 in Asia for 100 meters breast stroke event and with right support he stands a great chance to win gold at the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea