Former All-England champion and celebrated badminton coach Pullela Gopichand initiated the country's largest 'train the trainers' programme on Thursday, inducing 1500 Physical Education (PE) teachers from across Gujarat for advanced training.
Envisioned by the ELMS Sports Foundation, a not-for-profit initiative promoted by Vita and Jalaj Dani and mentored by Gopichand and Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, the programme aims to develop the skills of PE teachers so that they can impart the right techniques to children aspiring to make it big at sports.
"This is the largest skill development programme at the grassroots level. It will impact over 45,000 children every year and change the Physical Literacy and Sports knowledge in schools in Gujarat," Gopichand said in a video message during the launch of the event, called 'Khel Shikshak ki Lagan'.
"This is a game-changer but is just the first step. We intend to start similar programmes in other states soon," he added.
As per the plan, Gopichand and his band of experts will initially select close to 150 PE teachers out of 1500 to become master trainers. They will attend a week-long workshop in which they will learn all the modern sports techniques; thereafter, they will impart the same to the other teachers across the state in a planned and phased manner.
"All this will be done under our supervision so that nothing is lost in translation," Gopichand explained.
The programme is looking at all-round development in sports, targeting the PE teachers, the students, and the schools.
"If schools play an active role in promoting sports, it will see an increase in sports among students and will spread a sports culture," Gopichand said.
"Of course, if their kids do well in competitions, the schools will gain popularity. Plus there are other perks of getting various sports equipment from the government," he added.
"We want sports development through education and this means imparting systematic and basic knowledge in sports to children," Vita Dani said, and added, "We will ensure that they get to participate in competitions like the Khelmahakumbh, the SGFI, and the DLSS among others."
The launch was attended, by SAG Secretary DD Kapadia, Jalaj Dani, Kamlesh Mehta, Prof Ramancharla Pradeep Kumar.