From poverty to limelight

Eye for talent

A matriculate, he would have followed his father’s profession, and his innate skills in the field of sports would have remained unutilised had the state’s Director General of Police (DGP) Abhayanand not selected him among the 150 children to be trained in various sports other than cricket.

Based on the basic physical standards devised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), 75 children out of the 150 kids from the poorest of the poor families were selected for four sports – hockey, basketball, handball and athletics. Three years down the line, Gupta has brought laurels to his home state after winning a gold medal at the East Zone Athletics Championship at Kolkata. Not only Gupta, but Amjad Ansari, Santosh Kumar and Dhruv Singh also bagged gold and silver medals for their state at the athletics’ meet. Ten players of the group (which has been nicknamed Super-75, much like Super 30, the organisation which grooms poor children for IIT-JEE), are today part of the Bihar basketball team (under-17).

The talent hunt began three years back when Abhayanand was Additional Director General (ADG) of Bihar Military Police (BMP).

It was then that he decided to select children from wards of police personnel as well as slum areas. “I was looking for children with talent in sports other than cricket. The 150 children selected were then asked to show their potential in various sports in the presence of coaches drawn from National Institute of Sports (NIS),” said Abhayanand who eventually selected 75 of them for the four sports aforementioned.

Three years of sincere effort bore fruit. But then, this is not the first time that Abhayanand has groomed poor children and honed their skills.

He was part of the Super-30 which helped poor children from downtrodden sections crack the prestigious IIT entrance examination. Though later he fell apart with Super-30 founder Anand, his desire to help the poor children remained undiminished.

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