IPL mania is not restricted to adults only. Now it has taken over even five-year-olds. Only this time, it’s not just cricket fever. In fact, a research across schools in the country shows that chess and skating are the newest rage with the tiny tots. And now they can show off their sporting skills at an organised event, International Sports Premier League (ISPL), in Mumbai.
Brainchild of Jay Shah, founder and director of The Sports Gurukul professional sports and fitness development and training organisation, ISPL will be held from January 28 to February 8. The sporting event for international schools across India has been jointly organised by Billabong High and will see a turnout of about 7,500 participants from over 100 schools.
Focus will be on seven different sports including football, cricket, skating, table tennis, chess, tennis and basketball. “The aim of the event is to provide schools with the opportunity to give their students an exposure at the national level. The event is in its third year; it was called Sports Olympiad earlier but last year we re-christened it to ISPL,” Shah informs, adding that the training company’s primary motive is to create a grassroots movement for sports. The event will see kids in the age group of five to 16 years. “There is no curriculum, no dedicated approach to sports in India and it has been proven that motor development is extremely important for kids to have a well-balanced development. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences reported that almost 90 per cent kids in school are turning obese,” says Shah, stressing on the need to fill the gap and coach students from schools willing to cooperate.
Although kids are coming down even from remote areas in Rajasthan, ISPL is yet to create a nationwide buzz. Shah is confident it will. There are off-field activities such as sports on canvas, action moments and sports skills.
The event will go national next year with more schools participating. “We are telling kids to put up videos online on our portal sportslantic.com to create a buzz and showcase their skills. We want to create a huge sporting community,” Shah asserts.
He also plans to open a sports school in the next three to four years. “We mean to give a platform, scout for talent from the grassroots level and train them for being the champions in the country. Our vision is to create sports as a culture,” Shah concludes.