Three techies have begun a company to promote sports among residents and students in the city. They talk about their ambitious plans to get people into playgrounds
Three techies in the city are stepping up a campaign to get people to engage in sports. Ardent sportspersons themselves, the three – Rahul Thomas, Arun V. Nair and Anoop Ashok – have kicked off Sportz4You, an integrated sports management company, which hopes to persuade people of all ages to programme sports into their busy schedules.
The three were living the good life abroad when they decided to return home to put down roots. While working at SunTec in the capital city, they found that apart from watering holes in the city, there were not too many places for youngsters to hang out and unwind after a hard day’s work. Alarmed by the flab they acquired quickly, they decided to get moving by courting sports with renewed vigour. “While working in Germany, I used to play futsal and tennis regularly but there is no space in the city for a game for working professionals. Most of the sports facilities shut down after sunset when we are free for a game of football or tennis. The clubs here impose restrictions on who can use the facilities and so people like us are forced to look elsewhere for some kind of physical activity,” explains Rahul, one of the directors of the venture.
To get into some kind of sporting activity, the three began cycling under the supervision of Anoop, co-founder of the Trivandrum Bikers’ Club. The small group of cyclists and their enthusiasm set off a chain reaction. “Soon many of our colleagues were upgrading their cycles and then we opened up the club to enthusiasts from other companies,” says Anoop.
Around the same time, they learnt that a survey conducted by the Government of Kerala on physical fitness of school students found that only 20 per cent of the students were “physically adequate” and met physical parameters for that age group.
“For the vast majority of residents, sports was not just a part of their lives,” points out Arun. Informal talks with their colleagues and friends in Technopark revealed that many of them wanted to be back on the ground with a sport they enjoyed. Bringing into play their managerial skills and ability to get a project off the ground, the three studied the situation and found that what the city lacked was space and professional management of sporting facilities.
To test the waters, they organised a few games of futsal and a tournament in Technopark. It proved to be a big draw with more than 320 participants registering for the event. Women were encouraged to play a game of penalty shoot-outs and many techies hit the ground to have a ball.
“The Messis and the Ronaldos are born during futsal matches and we found that many football buffs were happy to be scoring goals again, this time on the ground. Many women too wanted to bend it like Beckham and participated in large numbers. Then we knew that we were on a winning pitch,” says Arun.
Quitting their jobs, the three formed Sportz4You to promote sports among corporates, schools and colleges. “The idea is to remove the fear that certain games can only be played by professionals or people who have learnt to play the game. We want to make sports inclusive and involve the family. For that we need games that do not require more than an hour to play and floodlit, secure grounds and infrastructure,” says Arun.
Futsal and Crick8 are two of the games that Sportz4You has adapted for busy professionals. Currently, a tournament of Crick8 is on at Technopark. “We have a tie-up with EduSports which has designed a curriculum for sports in schools. We are holding talks with leading schools and colleges in the city to blend in this curriculum of sports in the school syllabus,” says Rahul. None of the schools or corporates has shown them the red card and the three musketeers say more such sporting activities are on the cards in the months to follow. They hope to have a ‘city run’ in December and a ‘cyclethon’ prior to that. A calendar of sporting events is also in the making.
“We are making a prototype for the city and then we hope to duplicate it in Kochi and other cities and then do the same all over India,” says Arun confidently.
On the anvil is a portal through which residents can book courts and find venues for different games. Adds Rahul: “If anyone wants to play a game, all they have to do is give us a call. We will book the courts, find teammates and provide the best of sporting equipment.” Contact:812-999-7907 / 8 / 9
All in the game
* Floodlit, professionally managed indoor courts that go on till, at least, 10 p.m.
* School grounds could be opened for the public’s use in the evening under the close supervision of professionals who ensure that it does not turn into venues for anti-social activities.
* Weekend sporting facilities for families.
The three friends are alumni of the College of Engineering, Trivandrum. Rahul and Arun are also alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad while Anoop did his MBA from University of Wales. All through college, they were all into football, cricket, tennis, badminton and cycling.