Volleyball player Rameshwar Dutt Sharma
Jorhat, May 30: Stories of grit and toil by Indian sportsmen of yesteryears are now featured on a newly launched website to inspire young players on their journey.
The website, www.indiansportsmen.com, is an initiative of the Rangoni Youth Sports Foundation, headquartered in Sonitpur district, and the stories have been penned by sportsmen. The objective is to encourage aspiring sportsmen not to give up when faced with hurdles.
Abhijit Bhattacharya, a former captain of the Indian volleyball team and one of the founders of the foundation, told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi that they had just started the website and it was open to contributions.
"Rangoni is to do with promoting volleyball in the Biswanath area of Sonitpur district. I am also deep into the game. That is why the website contains mostly tales of the lives of volleyball players, many of whom come from remote villages. These go to show that the game pays off and they are all living happy fulfilled lives even today," Bhattacharya said.
The story of how Rangoni (meaning ray of hope in Assamese) was founded is also narrated on the website. The foundation has trained 200 young volleyball players, of whom six have been recruited by Assam police.
"If one has it in him or her, one should go all the way. There should be no leaving any game midway in the apprehension that sport can never be a career. If they could do it, then the young players of today can do better," he said.
The website features the story of ace volleyball player Rameshwar Dutt Sharma who was born at Purmati, a sleepy village in Muzaffarnagar district of western Uttar Pradesh, where most of his friends smoked the hookah and harvested sugarcane.
Another story depicts the journey of player R. Kamaraj.
"Barack Obama would have probably never dreamt of becoming the President of United States of America while he was at school, nor had R. Kamaraj ever thought in his wildest dreams that he would one day become the Best Setter of the World," it says.
Growing up near the sea beaches of Tuticorin, Kamaraj became part of history when he, along with his team members, won the silver medal at World Youth Volleyball Championship in 2003.
The story of another player begins: "The farmer's son who tasted bread and jam for the first time in his life at a sports hostel, is today an owner of a luxury hotel chain (Hotel Mandarin). Now, he enjoys pampering his guests with delicious Mexican, Lebanese and Continental cuisine. Between his first encounter with brown bread and managing his hotel, Amir Singh had sweated 18 years of his life in the volleyball grounds of our country."
The website also recalls the achievements of Vaishali Khasherao Phadtare: "The one and only tomboy of Indian volleyball also holds the record for winning the highest number of national titles. She is the chalta-phirta encyclopaedia of Indian volleyball."
For now, there are no stories listed under the cricket and football sections.
However, the "Neighbourhood Sportstar" section features Purno Tisso, hockey player from Biswanath Chariali who made it to the state team without any formal training in the game.
"We want to make the sporting spirit prevail not only in our society but in the nation. This is just a beginning," Bhattacharya added.