Nita Ambani, the Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation is keen to develop India as a multi-sport nation. With this aim, she launched the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) initiative in 2016.
The RFYS initiative was inaugurated with an aim to reshape sports in India at the grassroots levels. It strives to develop varied sports and encourage youngsters to engage in the same.
RFYS sets out a platform for school and college students to hone their skills and amplify their love for sports. It organizes tournaments and offers state-of-the-art facilities, and equipment to varied institutes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who inaugurated the initiative, hailed it as a unique step towards the development of sports in India.
RFYS discovers and trains untapped talent in India. It provides training and scholarships to the most deserving students. The initiative is completely funded by the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Limited, Reliance Foundation.
Nita Ambani believes that RFYS will promote a sporting culture across India. Through the noble initiative, she dreams of creating professional sportspersons in the country.
During the first year, RFYS scheduled only football tournaments and training programs. In the upcoming years, it will focus on games like badminton, basketball, tennis, and volleyball.
The football tournament began with several school and college level competitions and then progressed towards city and national levels. The city winners of the tournament get an opportunity to be trained by professional football clubs and brush up their skills for the national level.
The initiative was started off at places like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa, Delhi, Guwahati, Pune, and Kochi, with an aim to reach out to 50 cities by 2020. The tournaments are arranged into 4 categories – Junior Boys for Grade 7 to Grade 10, Senior Boys for Grade 11 and Grade 12, College Boys for students pursuing graduation and Senior Girls for Grade 11 and Grade 12.
Nita Ambani’s statements at the launch
At the launch of RFYS, Nita Ambani revealed that the initiative is focused towards driving India’s growth as a multi-sport nation.
Nita Ambani informed that the initiative is aimed at targeting 2 million children from 2000 schools in its initial year. She added that RFYS expects a participation of around 40,000 students during the same year.
Along with sports, Nita Ambani made sure that the initiative should also focus on digitization. She spoke about RFYS’s plan to broadcast a minimum of 3000 games in the first year on its digital platform. According to her, this move could motivate talented youngsters and give them good exposure.
Nita Ambani’s role in sports development
Being the Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani is closely involved in all of its activities. She promotes sports and other related activities. Due to her inclination towards sports and her efforts to revive the same in India, she was appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Mrs. Ambani believes that not all students are good at academics and that they should be given an equal opportunity to build their career. With RFYS, she offers a unique platform to the youth and allows them to follow their passion by integrating sports into regular academics. According to her, sports complements education as it teaches the values of discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership. She believes that sports is necessary for all-round development as it also contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
Mrs. Ambani developed RFYS as an organized and unified structure of sports competitions for schools and colleges. She encourages maximum participation from young sports lovers. The program is designed in such a way that sports enthusiasts receive guidance and encouragement from a very young age.
Through her diligence, RFYS set up an intelligent six-member advisory comprising famous sports personalities and other dignitaries. Besides Nita Ambani, the advisory includes cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, tennis master Leander Paes, and badminton superstar Saina Nehwal. Other members include Bollywood actor and co-owner of Mumbai City Football Club at the Indian Super League, Ranbir Kapoor, and eminent educationalist, Prof. Dipak Jain.