Former sprinter Ashwini Nachappa, who has taken initiatives to uplift lives of around 1800 slum children and orphans in Bangalore, reiterated a view that it is important to integrate academics and sports for the healthy development of school children. She has introduced the slum children to athletics and a handful of them have become state champions.

Taking part in the PUMA ``School of Speed’’ debate, the 46 year old who is also vice-president of Clean Sports India (CSI) said: ``I’m a product of the school games. It was mandatory to take part in school games. Our PT instructor took pride in showcasing talent outside the academics and class room. Today an average child has no place to go; be it sports, music and dance, all aspects of arts should be part of the school curriculum. Learning motor skill works wonders. And no child can excel without parental support.’’

The sports footwear and apparel company has decided to organise a unique relay running event `` school for speed’’ for boys and girls in the age group of 13-16 in Mumbai (MMRDA ground, Feb.9), Delhi (JNU campus, Feb. 15) and Bangalore (venue and date to be decided). Cricketer Yuvraj Singh who is the brand ambassador of the event said there were opportunities for him growing up in school and college in Chandigarh. ``Sports helps in the development of a healthy mind in children.’’

The top winners of the pioneering event will get a chance to meet the world’s legendary athlete, Usain Bolt.

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