Ludhiana’s star athlete Vikas Thakur girds his loins to bring the glory home in Asian games
Looking back at his journey as a beginner when he started practising weightlifting, at the age of 9, at Ludhiana club and Guru Nanak Stadium, athlete Vikas Thakur said infrastructure and facilities for players in their initial stages still had not improved
Bracing to fetch gold for the country in the upcoming Asian games to be held in China, city’s star athlete and three-time Commonwealth Games medalist Vikas Thakur— who is on a two-month break after living away from home for the most part of his 12 years’ journey as an international player— said his next goal would be to win national games and become a part of the Indian team for the Asian games 2023.
During an award function to felicitate Thakur, along with 12 other achievers in sports, technology, women empowerment and social work from different states of India and the US, at Guru Nanak Auditorium here, the CWG medallist said the support and appreciation he received from his city and beyond had been overwhelming.
Need to upgrade sports infrastructure in state : Thakur
Looking back at his journey as a beginner when he started practising weightlifting, at the age of 9, at Ludhiana club and Guru Nanak Stadium, he said infrastructure and facilities for players in their initial stages still had not improved. “After becoming an international player, I have the best of facilities available to me, but for newcomers, the sports infrastructure in our state is in dire need of upgrade.”
Speaking about the lack of interest in sports among youth, he said even children in his family preferred remaining stuck to their mobile phones and social media, which could be disastrous for their health. He said every person should add at least one hour of physical exercise to their routine schedule.
15-year-old from district youngest among recipients
Youngest among the recipients, 15-year-old Namya Joshi, also a resident of Ludhiana, had received ‘Pradhan Mantri Bal Puruskar’ in 2021 for her devotion towards creating a bridge between fun and knowledge. While studying in Class 6, she prepared history lessons on Minecraft— a block-building game. She has developed over 100 lessons in different subjects including, chemistry, maths and sustainable development goals. She said she had trained over 15,000 students and teachers in both online and offline sessions across the world.
A Class 10 student, Namya, was invited to the Young Innovators’ Summit in New Delhi in 2020, where she met Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
She said she was working on her own edtech startup ‘Curri-Catalyst’ through which she wants to empower students, especially girls by giving them skill-based lessons and guidance to boost their learning journey. She said, “I want my app to be adopted by the government so that it can be made widely available to students without any cost.”