New Delhi: Two days after Maharatna Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) received the Prime Minister’s Trophy for the Best Integrated Steel Plant for its plant in Bhilai, the company was awarded the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar by President of India, His Excellency Shri Pranab Mukherjee for ‘Community Sports and Identification and Nurturing of Budding Young Talent’. The award was received by SAIL Chairman Mr C.S. Verma in the presence of Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports Mr Ajay Maken yesterday. Expressing happiness upon receiving the award, Chairman SAIL Mr C.S. Verma said, “The award, which comes as an acknowledgement towards our efforts, encourages us to work with even greater fervor towards the cause of promoting sports and sportsman spirit in the nation”.
Only recently, the two SAIL sponsored wrestlers, Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt won the Silver and Bronze medals respectively at London Olympics 2012. SAIL has been supporting these players from their formative years preceding the glorious victories, to help them find their rightful place in the history of Indian sports.
With the idea of nurturing local talent and ‘Catching ‘em Young’, SAIL runs six sports academies in the townships of its integrated steel plants and mines, by hand-picking local talent, and raising them to national and international levels. The residential sports academies of SAIL include: Football (at Bokaro & Burnpur), Hockey (at Rourkela), Athletics (at Bhilai & Durgapur) and Archery (at Kiriburu, Jharkhand). Cadets enrolled through transparent selection procedure are trained with eminent coaches and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
The stellar role played by SAIL is substantiated by the fact that many SAIL cadets go on to create a special place for themselves on the canvas of national and international sports. Champions like Virender Lakra and Jairam Lakra, who were selected to play hockey at London Olympics and Asia Cup respectively, are products of the SAIL Hockey Academy at Rourkela. The SAIL Eklavya Archery Academy, Kiriburu, conceived as a major CSR initiative to nurture and promote the native skills of the residents of Saranda region, is one more step taken by SAIL in the direction of grooming native talent in the country.
Besides, SAIL townships are equipped with facilities for numerous indoor and outdoor games, which include, inter-alia, athletics, handball, cricket, basketball, volleyball, badminton, boxing, weightlifting, table tennis, kabaddi, chess, carom, billiards.