Payback time

Golden sunset Pavitra Chandran: ’I was very clear that I should give back to sports

Golden sunset Pavitra Chandran: ’I was very clear that I should give back to sports   | Photo Credit: Photo: Bhagya Prakash k.

Former State player Pavitra Chandran to gives back to the game with B7, her sports consultancy and event management venture

Not all sport stars fade away. Many switch from life on the field to sports promotion. One such is Pavitra Chandran, the former State and Indian basketball player, who wore jersey No. 7, with pride and dignity and excelled as an all-rounder for the State team between 1994-2001. “When I finally hung my spikes in 2001, I wondered what I should be doing. I was very clear about one thing, that I should give back something to sports. There are several moments in my career, when things were not going smooth and I found none to address the players grievances.Often, I felt I should have had a head start in the game. All these factors did act on me in a positive way, I was determined that younger generation, should not face such pitfalls and stay motivated. That is how I got round to doing a sports management course,” says Pavitra.

She could not find the right course, so she went into sports promotion. She tied with hockey Olympian, M. P. Ganesh and tennis pro Sunil Yajaman to float Synergy Sports, which however had a short innings with the partners going their separate ways. Later she got on to Prakash Padukone-Geeth Sethi gold quest venture aimed at identifying and supporting medal prospects for the country.

“I learnt a lot from Prakash and Geeth, but I needed to relocate from Bangalore to continue, so I quit and started working on my project.”

Her project finally took shape as B7 , a sports consultancy firm and event management venture. Pavitra explains the name. “B stands for my pet name Belli, it also means basketball and bikes which are my passion, seven, was the number I was associated as a player, my jersey number. Also seven is supposed to have lot of spiritual significance.”

B7 will focus on integrating sports with academics in schools and provide a platform for talented youngsters to work towards making sports a career.

“Very few academicians are interested in sports and encourage talent in schools. What I wish to do is guide school authorities to formulating a proper sports programme within curriculum and guide them on infrastructure development.”

Pavitra dismisses the notion that sports has to be followed at the expense of academics. “I strongly disagree with that. I was a State-level cricket and softball player. My studies never suffered. I did my graduation and an MBA and all this was achieved in spite of being a sportswoman. One should learn how to balance sports with academics. This is something I would love to share with children who wish to take up sports.”

Tools of science and technology now have a permanent place in sports and Pavitra says, “It is absolutely necessary to keep abreast with research done in sports and base our training on scientific lines.”

Pavitra also stresses the need for corporatisation of sports. “Most of our associations are not professionally run. There has to be accountability for every paisa or grant that one gets. Not only that, persons in key position should be accountable for the development of sports. That can happen only if we have professionals where everyone is paid to do a certain job and make sure they deliver,” says Pavitra, who wishes to use her business skills that she learnt in her MBA.

Another lacuna in Indian sports is the poor maintenance of the infrastructure. “Most are in a poor state and they need proper maintenance.”

Promoting of sports is also important. Pavitra concedes that one has to be market savvy to sell a sport. “As a basketball player, I often used to argue with fellow players and friends about the hype and exposure of cricket. But I later came to realise that, it is all about selling the game. There is no point in blaming cricket for the ills of other sports, when other games are not even sold properly. They should become spectator friendly, produce more stars, and be run with right business acumen to match cricket. As I see it now, the public doesn’t have much of choice and even cricket is getting stale because of over-kill.”

Though Pavitra has had offers from several quarters to try out her ideas, she feels her own venture B7 would give her the utmost satisfaction. The challenges are many and there is a long road ahead, but Pavitra seems to have her route map firmly in place.


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