Hyderabad: The GMC Balayogi athletics stadium at Gachibowli is abuzz with school kids competing and cheering for the schools mates making it a vibrant atmosphere. Monday being the first day of the athletics competitions in the Sports For All (SFA) meet, a first-of-its-kind inter-school competition in 23 Olympic disciplines, the track and field stadium was electrifying.
This is the first edition of the event in Hyderabad – SFA has conducted two editions in Mumbai – and the organisers are leaving no stone unturned for the tournament to leave a long-lasting impression. Every match is videotaped and they have also come up with digital scoring for the first time in this edition.
The tournament has seen a registration of over 13,000 participants from 300 schools across twin cities, including over 70 government schools are in fray. Given the magnitude of the tournament, the organisers have roped in around 1400-member team to make sure everything goes smoothly. A team of 100 members in production team, 125 camera crew are involved for making the videos of all the matches. A 45-member SFA core team is taking care of the proceedings with the help of 100 volunteers.
Vignan School from Nizampet has the highest participation with 650 athletes across all disciplines while athletics has the maximum registration with 2,249 participants in all categories. The game of kabaddi also has seen an enormous demand with 145 teams (1472 athletes).
Speaking to Telangana Today, founder Rishikesh Joshi said that though he expected more participation, he was happy to see over 13,000 participants. “The response has been fantastic. We have been here for just one and half month and to see so many participate it is pleasing.
This is the first year and a lot of people are trying to understand the system. So everything will fall into place for the next edition. Right now we want to get Mumbai and Hyderabad editions perfectly in order and make sure that the experience we promised was delivered and then we will announce the next city in January and February,” he said.
Vaishali, Head of Communications and Talent Acquisition, said, “All these matches are recorded and there is a whole team doing digital scoring. Results are declared soon after the match and they are being uploaded in the side. We are introducing digital scoring this edition.”
She also lauded the State government for providing support. “TS government has helped us get the infrastructure. We are also using the state officials from sports associations in all 23 disciplines”.
Talking about the sponsors she said, “To have an event like this requires about Rs 4 to 5 crore from our pocket and we really love to be part of this property. We really hope the sponsors will come and take it to the next level. We approached the sponsors. Once they see the tournament they will be ready to come forward to invest,” she said.
Alexander, PET of Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, said, “This tournament is a great opportunity for school children. There is no limit on the number of teams in one discipline. We have two to three teams in each category and when we send out school team to competitions, we send the cream of the players. So others won’t get a chance. But here, everyone can participate. It will be a big tournament in future.”