New Delhi: In the aftermath of India’s performance at the Rio Olympics, the discussion across the country turned to what needs to be done in order to improve the country’s ranking at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Against this backdrop, CNN-News18 took the lead not only in terms of coming up with a unique charter for improving our performance at the next Olympics but even took up the cause of a young talented gymnast Ashmita Pal who dreams of representing and winning laurels for the country.
On the first day of the campaign itself, the channel has raised over Rs. 3 lakhs and the contributions are still pouring in. Responding to the initiative, a leading Public Sector company announced an immediate grant of Rs. 2 lakhs and a monthly scholarship of Rs. 20,000 per month for the next two years for the athlete. Shahid Chowdhury, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Tripura also backed the CNN-News18 campaign.
The channel, in partnership with Bitgiving, is aiming to raise Rs. 10 lakhs in order to get proper facilities for gymnastics training for Ashmita through their campaign #HelpAshmita who hopes to win an Olympics Gold.
Earlier this month, young Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar scripted history as she entered the final of the Vault event at the Rio Olympics. Her feat will not only serve as an inspiration for upcoming sportspersons like 15-year-old Ashmita Pal but has also given them the courage to chase their dreams.
Endorsed by Dipa Karmakar, Ashmita has represented India at the World School Gymnastics in Turkey this July. Hailing from Agartala, her father is a daily wage earner and her mother is a domestic help. For her, meeting basic nutrition needs is a struggle, let alone the diet required by an athlete. But defying all odds, Ashmita fought her way into the national team. She is now training under Soma Nandy, wife of Dipa Karmakar’s coach.
For the CNN-News18 team, this campaign is a manifestation of the channel’s commitment and thought leadership in picking up issues that the country feels strongly about and making a difference on the ground.