Social Entrepreneur Suheil F. Tandon has won the International Olympic Committee's Sport and Active Society Commission's Grant Award for his contribution to sports for development. Suheil is the Founder of Pro Sport Development (PSD) and Executive Director of Martha Farrell Foundation.
The International Olympic Committee, which is committed to building a better world through sport, redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world. Worth USD 25,000 each, these grants are awarded to grassroots organisations running effective sport for all programmes in different regions across the world.
The award ceremony was held during the Olympism in Action forum at Buenos Aires.
"I am honoured and humbled to receive this recognition. Playing sports is an excellent way to teach the values of sport. Participants learn about fairplay, about respecting others and develop a sense of responsibility and discipline. Adolescent boys and girls who are exposed to active sports turn out to be better citizens and our endeavour is just that," said Suheil from Buenos Aires after receiving the award.
"The development grant will help PSD expand its Community Sports Programme in Eastern India to benefit more young people living in slum settlements through the provision of sports equipment, upgrading sports infrastructure and training coaches."
Suheil is committed towards using sport as a tool for the holistic development of youth rather than just for their sporting development. By supporting learning through sport, his vision is to develop engaged young leaders who are committed to change. Currently in India, sport and physical activity are seen as a luxury rather than a necessity.
Even schools and institutions that have existing sports programs are focused more on ensuring excellence in sports and achievement of results in sporting competitions. Little to no attention is paid to encouraging sports as a fun activity, and to learn sporting values such as teamwork, leadership, communication, equality and fair-play, which are vital in the development of adolescents towards adulthood.
Suheil also uses sport as a tool to challenge unequal and harmful gender relations, with the goal of ending violence against women and girls. Pro Sport Development collaborates with Martha Farrell Foundation in its Kadam Badhate Chalo program. In this program, sport is an important medium through which young boys and girls are empowered to reflect on and speak out against gender inequality and violence against women.
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