Odisha News Insight

Odisha’s Sukhi qualifies the National Finals 2016 of GAIL Indian Speedstar

athlete Sukhi BaskeyYoung athlete Sukhi Baskey from Odisha made the state proud by qualifying in the National Finals 2016 of GAIL Indian Speedstar in both 100m and 200 m categories (Under 14), held on 12 th May 2016 evening at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. The finals saw the participation of 75 shortlisted kids from different districts and states of India out of which top 9 athletes were selected.

Among the top 9 kids selected from the National Trials are 6 girls and 3 boys: Tai Bahmane (Maharshtra) under-14 category 200, Sukhi Baskey (Odisha) under-14 100m & 200m, Cynthia Francis (New Delhi) under-14 200m, Nisar Ahmed (New Delhi) under-14 100m, Nehal S (New Delhi) under-14 200m, Sanika Nate (Maharashtra) under-14 100m, Akshay Nain (New Delhi) under-17 200m, Maria Karachiwala (Maharashtra) under-17 200m and Jisna Mathew (Kerala) under-17 100m. These athletes will be provided with a world class coaching for over a period of 4 years with an ultimate objective of one of these athletes to represent India at the 2020/2024 Olympics.

It may be noted here that Sukhi Baskey hails from a small village of Odisha and has been practicing since the age of 10. Daughter of a farmer, Sukhi is staying in a sports hostel from last 3 years which is supported by the government where she is getting free training and sports equipments. She had participated in School National Events and won the silver Medal in the 200 Meters race earlier.

Hon’ble Union Minister of Finance and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley graced the National Finals 2016 of GAIL-Indian Speedstar, an initiative by GAIL (India) Limited to spot, screen, select and nurture the talents in athletics. The event started with March past of athletes contingent. It also saw performances from Indian Idol winner Ananya Sritam Nanda and Zenith Dance troupe who sizzled the stage with their Youth centric contemporary dance performance.

Also present at the event were Shri Dharmendra Pradhan – Hon’ble Union Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Government of India, Ms Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, New Delhi constituency, Mr B C Tripathi, Chairman & MD, GAIL (India) Ltd., National Selection Committee members legendary P.T. Usha, Olympians Rachita Mistry, Anuradha Biswal and Asian and Commonwealth Games medalist, Kavita Raut and brand ambassador of GAIL Indian Speedstar Dutee Chand.

Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Union Minister of Finance and Information & Broadcasting Government of India said, ‘India has huge talent in the arena of athletics and track & field events but we have not been able to capitalize on this latent potential due to lack of opportunities and adequate training facilities. With GAIL’s welcome move to go to districts across states under the able guidance of legendary PT Usha, I am confident that we will now win several medals at Olympics.  I congratulate GAIL on their excellent endevaour and call upon India Inc to identify talent in other sport disciplines for training and participation in Olympics. I wish the chosen athletes all the very best.’

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan – Hon’ble Union Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Government of India said, ‘This is a commendable initiative on Part of GAIL India to pick up potential athletes from the grass root,  choose the best among them through healthy competition and then train the best for the world’s largest sporting spectacle of Olympics. I am confident that the chosen nine will very train hard in the next four years and bring laurels for India in the track event when Olympics are held at Tokyo in 2020. We assure them all support and wish them best of luck in their quest for glory.”

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