Britain to give 3.5 mn pounds for sports in India


New Delhi : Visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Monday gave a push to a global sports initiative called “International Inspiration”, a development project in partnership with governments across the world, with a pledge to pump in funds and expertise into Indian sports programmes.

Support TwoCircles

India – along with Brazil, Azerbaijan, Palau and Zambia – is one of the beneficiaries of the pilot sports programme.

The programme has been in force in select schools in India since 2004 and is supported by Unicef, the British Council, the UK Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Olympic Association.

Brown, on a two-day India visit, interacted with budding sportspersons from schools across the country at a colourful sporting event at the sports complex of Delhi University.

He also pledged 3.5 million pounds for sports projects across India. “Inspiration International will use the power of sports to transform lives of millions of children and young people in countries across the globe,” Brown said.

Aditya Kumar Sharma of the BRCM Public School, a boarding school for boys at Bhiwani in Haryana, said: “We are already part of an Indo-UK sports exchange initiative sponsored by the British Council. Our boys are tutored by British coaches to play football under the ‘Dreams and Teams’ project which aims to build leadership through sports.”

The BRCM, along with five other schools, had put up sports stalls in the Delhi Sports Complex for the British prime minister to take stock of their sporting activities.

British Council director Rod Pryde said: “The initiative will involve young people and encourage human and social developments through the spirit of excellence.”

The programme has the twin objectives of sports development and social development through sports.

In India, the programme will work with various government, non-government and academic bodies. It will help develop coaching, identification of talent, athlete tracking, physical training, physical education, anti-doping compliance and support for sports volunteering.

“It will also build capacity at the grassroots through sports organisations at the level of local governments and help achieve millennium goals, including greater involvement of girls in sports and education, and health awareness and opportunities for marginalized children,” said a senior British official.

India’s youth affairs and sports ministry and its British counterpart have already signed a pact to work together to promote sports. The programme in India entails multi-strand activities at various social levels under the India-UK Sports Development Initiative.

The initiative in India will also help “children from the social and economic fringe of the capital secure a social legacy of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games” by way of involvement and empower young women and girls with disabilities.