The Sportsstar Conclave highlights Goa's bid to become a global sports hub

The first edition of the 2024 Sportstar Conclave took place on Friday with 'Focus Goa'. At the event, problems in various sports disciplines were solved and possibilities for improving playing conditions were discussed.

In a virtual address, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, “Goa is primarily known as a tourist destination but will soon become a sports hub. Last year, Goa successfully hosted a number of national and international sporting events. Recently, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Games were held in Goa in which more than 10,000 athletes participated in 43 disciplines. Goa also achieved its highest medal tally of 92.”

Rohan Khaunte, Goa Tourism Minister, highlighted the government's commitment to bring sports and tourism together.

“The state actively supports the redefinition of its identity through the use of technology. This innovative strategy, comprising the four “S” of sun, sand, sea and software, was further developed by adding a fifth “S”: sport. By incorporating sports into our story, we not only provide equal opportunities for the youth but also contribute to the multifaceted development of Goa.

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Shrinivas Dempo (Chairman of the Dempo Group) and Dr. Sagar D. Salgaocar (Executive Director, Geno Sports Club) shared his views on the role of sports in community and social development. “Adopting a multi-stakeholder approach that combines the efforts of both the private and public sectors is essential to transform Goa into a world-class sports hub,” Shrinivas said. dr. Meanwhile, Salgaocar highlighted how strong the intermediate sport is in terms of inspiring core values ​​such as discipline and perseverance. The session was moderated by Suresh Balakrishnan, CFO of The Hindu Group.

Mervyn Fernandes, a member of the gold medal winning hockey team of 1980, expressed his views on how Goa can build on its legacy of hosting the 37th National Games in 2023 and popularize various sports. “Football is the most popular sport in Goa, but it is important to recognize the contribution of other sports like hockey. Olympians from Goa, including Mary D'Souza, have made significant strides in hockey. Despite being less in the limelight, efforts have been made to promote and popularize hockey. Recent initiatives like hosting Sub Junior and Junior Nationals on Astroturf indicate that hockey is gaining ground,” Fernandes said during a session hosted by KC Vijaya Kumar, Sports Editor, The Hindu.

Suneel Anchipaka, IAS (Director of Tourism and MD, Goa Tourism Development Corporation), unveiled the Goa government's strategy to make the state a new-age sports hub in India.

“The government is working not only on building assets, but also on how to maintain them sustainably.”

“We had strong competition from states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, yet Goa became the destination for professional beach volleyball. We have a host city partnership with the world of table tennis for the next three years. For inland tourism and rural communities, the government conducted adventure races. It is a completely eco-friendly sports model,” Anchipaka said in a session moderated by Prasanth Shanthakumaran, Partner, KPMG India.

Pearl Fernandes, an up-and-coming female footballer, was named the Emerging Hero, while Levino Dias, a revered Goan football coach, was named the Sportsstar Hero Unsung champion.

The conclave was held in collaboration with Hero We Care, Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, Goa Tourism, Indian Oil, Geno Sports Club, KSG India, State Bank of India, KPMG, Great SportsTech, Casagrand and NewsX.

Ferdinand Medina

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