India wrapped up what was the country’s most successful Asian Games campaign in Hangzhou, China, last week, with an unprecedented haul of 107 medals to finish fourth overall. The historic campaign had a few prominent factors behind its success, with JSW Group-led initiatives being at the forefront of that list.
The JSW Group has, for a decade now, been pioneering a sporting movement in India through the JSW Foundation, JSW Sports and the Inspire Institute of Sport, with a special focus on helping India succeed at the Olympic Games.
Speaking on JSW Group’s holistic contribution to Indian sport and its subsequent impact on India’s performance at the Asian Games, Parth Jindal, Founder, JSW Sports and Inspire Institute of Sport, said, “It gives all of us at the JSW Group immense pride to have played a pivotal part in India’s most successful Asian Games campaign yet. The JSW Group, through its initiatives, has been committed to transforming India into a sporting powerhouse and to see the effort yield consistent results in big-stage competitions is a testament to the work being put in.
“The JSW Foundation, has for years now, been supporting the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and more recently, the Government of Odisha’s swimming programme. The Inspire Institute of Sport has been our flagship high-performance centre with satellite centres in Himachal, Hisar, Odisha and Manipur. Some of the biggest names in corporate India have joined hands with us in our movement. The role we have played in India’s success at Hangzhou has only fuelled our desire to succeed in Paris next year.”
The Indian shooters bagged a staggering 22 medals, while the boxers picked five medals – four of those sealing berths at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. India’s swimming contingent, meanwhile, broke six national records while competing in China. The partnership with the NRAI involves supporting the coaches, while extensively aiding their data collection and analysis. With BFI, the Foundation’s support extends to organising and hosting national events, facilitating foreign coaching staff and even arming the Federation with a Performance Director.
In Odisha, the JSW Foundation has initiated an end-to-end programme in conjunction with the Government to culture in aquatics. Currently, the programme is active in 15 different centres, impacting over 5,000 children, with the numbers only set to double over the next five years. The programme also involves a team of highly experienced coaches who are working to create a pipeline of talent who will have an impact on high-performance swimming in the near future.
According to Mrs Sangita Jindal, Chairperson of JSW Foundation, “India is a nation of aspiring athletes. About a decade ago, there was a significant gap in the training, development & funding opportunities India offered to talented youngsters to pursue a career in Sports. Hence, we launched the Sports Excellence Program as our proprietary CSR project to support Indian Olympic athletes. Over the years, we have also launched various interventions across all our direct impact zones to identify and nurture young rural sporting talent. These sporting gems are identified at an early age and our team helps to build their capacity through a holistic programme. They are then taken to the Inspire Institute of Sport for further training to shape them for international championships. Through our focus on world-class training infrastructure, coaching and sports science, we are confident of nurturing a new generation of Olympic Sports champions for India.”
The Inspire Institute of Sport had 31 athletes from on its roster represent Team India in China, and 17 from among those returned with medals. (4 Gold, 8 Silver and 5 Bronze). Neeraj Chopra, Avinash Sable, Parul Chaudhary and the Men’s 4x400 relay team were among those who won Gold.
Speaking on the success of athletes from the programme, Rushdee Warley, CEO, of Inspire Institute of Sport said, “This has been a fantastic Asian Games campaign for India and there is so much encouragement to take from the performances. From an IIS perspective, to see an increase in the number of our athletes who have participated, and won medals from Jakarta in 2018 to Hangzhou in 2023, shows how we are growing as an organisation. There were personal bests, season bests and even an Asian Games record (Avinash Sable). The experience of competing against some of the top athletes from the continent will hold our athletes in good stead when it is time for Paris 2024.”
The IIS, while spearheaded by the JSW Group, is also supported by close to 30 donors from corporate India, including entities like Citi India, IndusInd Bank, Kotak, Borosil and Gameskraft Foundation. This is in line with the IIS’ vision of assembling corporates to contribute and lead India’s charge to Olympic glory.
With the Paris Olympics less than a year away, the focus now shifts to improving India’s medal count from Tokyo. Explaining JSW’s approach to growing sport and ensuring success, Manisha Malhotra, Head of Sports Excellence and Scouting, JSW Sports, said, “At JSW we have extensively focused on looking at sports which not only have multiple medals on offer but also lack widespread support system. We want to look to the future and grow sports which may not be in the mainstream but are pivotal in getting India higher up in the medal tally.”