Khelo Indian School Games is turning out to be a great initiative for Indian sports. The event was organised as part of the revamped National Programme for development of sports, Khelo India. Aimed at strengthening the ecosystem by promoting the twin objectives of mass participation and promotion of excellence in sports, Khelo India school games witnessed some exciting young talent. One performer who stood out from others was Annie Jain, a 16-year-old resident of Indore.
The emerging swimmer was the only female sports star who won 6 medals: A bronze in the 50m freestyle, gold in the 100m freestyle, silver in the 200m freestyle, gold in the 50m breast stroke, gold in the 100-m freestyle relay and a gold in the 100m medley relay.
Annie’s journey is an inspiration to many young girls in the country. She started swimming at the age of 4 and it’s been over eight years now that the youngster has developed and honed her talent in the discipline.
On International Women’s Day, Annie was presented with the ‘Star Sports Believe’ Honorary Plaque at her school – Bal Bharti.
On her achievement, Annie said that she sees Khelo India as an opportunity which has helped her improve as a sportsperson and come closer to the dream of representing India one day. “It’s an ideal platform for individuals like me who don’t have access to expensive facilities to hone our skills. I am extremely grateful and thankful to Star Sports for bestowing this honor upon me and other young women achievers today,” she added.
Apart from Annie, the other girls who were awarded are – Khushi Dinesh who won 5 medals for swimming and relay, Purva Vijay Kirve who won 3 medals in artistic gymnastics and the Manipuri girls’ weightlifting team which topped with five gold and one silver.
A Star Sports spokesperson said that the women participation in sports has increased over the years with female athletes performing well at global competitions. “Acknowledging their splendid achievements at such a young age with the Star Sports Believe plaque is one way the stories of our young girl athletes need to be told, empowering them and their families in their journey. We want their stories to inspire millions of other aspirants to come out and take up sports,” he said.