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  Social Responsibility

Women Empowerment
Published on: Feb. 18, 2020, 3:35 p.m.
Welspun Foundation supports sportswomen in global endeavours
  • National swimmer Jyoti Patil to represent India in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

By Business India Editorial

Aarti and Jyoti Patil are national swimmers aiming to represent India in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. They broke the national record in 200 metre breaststroke organised by the Federation of India in 2015. Manasi Joshi is a para-badminton player from Ahmedabad. She was an active badminton player in school and participated in various tournaments before she met with an accident in Mumbai and lost her left leg. A passionate go-getter, her rigorous practice has established her as the World Para Badminton champion, helping her win the gold in the Spanish, Japan and Australian para-Badminton international in 2018. She was conferred The Eklavya Award – the highest Maharashtra Rajya Puraskar for sportsperson with disability in 2019.

The commonality between Aarti, Jyoti and Manasi is that they have been financially supported by Welspun for their travel across the globe for tournaments. The assistance includes participation fee and travel expenses and even prosthetics in the case of Manasi.

The foundation supports sportswomen from varied disciplines, enabling them to seek career opportunities by providing financial assistance. If a sportswoman is talented but lacks resources (which could be due to a physical disability, financial constraints or abject, below-the-poverty-line existence) and is striving to excel in her core area of performance, Welspun Foundation, in partnership with NEST (Nurturing and Excellence in Sports Trust), comes to her aid. Apart from helping in the execution process, the foundation also lends a hand in sourcing suitable candidates who are on a par with the objectives of the programme.

Robust and bias free

A thorough research is conducted to make the selection process absolutely robust and bias free. Initial research includes background verification, home visits, and meeting with coaches and trainers, that help in identifying the needs of a candidate, after which a budget is lined up in coherence with their needs or requirements which includes tournament travels, sports kits, nutrition, and food.

The Trust has not specified any time span for supporting these sportswomen. However, the athlete’s performance is reviewed closely. A team of professionals is in constant touch with the sportswomen; regular meetings with coaches and trainers are scheduled to understand their performance; and a quarterly home visit helps the Trust to understand if the sportswomen are facing any challenges.

Making an impact

Sakina Khatun, a para-power lifter hails from a humble family from Basirhat in West Bengal. Her mother is a farm labourer, while her father is bed-ridden with serious back condition. Sakina had got affected with Polio in childhood, but that did not stop her from achieving her dreams. She won the gold medal in the 45 kg category at the 16th National Powerlifting Championship in New Delhi in 2018, silver medal in the Para Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai, and bronze medal in Commonwealth Games 2014, Glasgow. Similarly, Subiya Mullani, a 19-year-old especially-enabled (deaf and mute) international swimmer from Kolhapur, is a winner of Mumbai Swimmathon 2014 and won the gold medal in Mumbai for free style swimming from Sun Rock to Gateway of India (5 km) in February 2019. Subiya will represent India in swimming later this year. Along with Sakina and Subiya, the Welspun Foundation supports 14 other dynamic women in sports, such as boxing, swimming, taekwondo, cycling, athletics, badminton or weightlifting.

Despite challenges, this initiative has been a success. It aims to support 50 sportswomen by 2020.

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