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For a remarkable contribution in nurturing and building sporting talents in the country for close to a decade, Pune-based an ‘athlete-first’ organisation ‘Lakshya’ will be honoured with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar at the 2020 National Sports Awards.

A not-for-profit organisation, ‘Lakshya’ — which was started over a coffee meeting in Pune by a bunch of sports fanatics in 2010 to provide much-needed support for Indian athletes to win medals for the country at big international events — has so far extended holistic support to more than 100 sportspersons across eight disciplines, including Olympians such as Rahi Sarnobat, Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra and Ashwini Ponappa, during its glorious journey so far.

“It’s a privilege to receive this award and get recognised for our hard work. Ten years back when people were questioning the ability of Indian athletes to win medals at global events, we knew with the right kind of support this can be made possible. And we are happy to see a journey that saw its inception over coffee has now made confident and strong strides. This not only inspires us but motivates us to work harder for the players’ well-being and contribute to nation-building,” ‘Lakshya’ President Vishal Chordia said.

Be it helping Asian Games champion Sarnobat find the right grip for her pistol which led to her qualification at the 2012 Olympics and a complete turnaround of her career or for that matter supporting a young shooter Mampi Das in not only excelling in the sport but also helping her mother to get back the jewellery which she had mortgaged to get Mampi to pursue sports, ‘Lakshya’ has many such untold stories where they have not only helped athlete rise but have also supported their parents in order to create a conducive environment for players to focus on their game.

“For any athlete to pursue excellence, it is very important to create the right kind of stress-free environment where the focus of the player can only be on the training. I still remember, there was a time when Ankita (Raina) was failing to find motivation due to her mother staying away for her job when Ankita was training in Pune. So we managed to get a job transfer for her mother to Pune requesting the respective employer and thereafter there was no looking back for Ankita as she kept performing well consistently,” Sunder Iyer, Secretary, ‘Lakshya’ said.

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