Sports has always been a great leavener of humanity. The sporting spirit that imbues the heart and soul of every sports person translates also in their life choices and overall personality. In taking on field instincts of compassion even in the face of stiff competition as a life mantra, sports personalities tend to very often plunge into serious efforts at making the society a better lace. Here’s some such inspirational Indian sports personalities and their contributions not just to their game of play but also to the society they very much respect and nurture much like their own-
He might be revered as the God of Cricket for his extraordinary exploits in the cricketing pitch but Sachin Tendulkar is a name that resides as much in humanity as he does in his idealistic image. One among the most prominent of sports personalities of the country, Tendulkar’s contributions to Indian cricket can never be overlooked. But also no less phenomenal is the Master Blaster’s sense of social responsibility and his zeal to give it back to the society.
Tendulkar sponsors 200 underprivileged children every year through the NGO Apnalaya while also being associated with a host of other such noble causes. From raising millions on Twitter for supporting the cause of cancer patients through the Crusade against Cancer foundation to being an active part of the Coca-Cola-NDTV Support My School telethon committed to the creation of basic facilities, particularly toilets for girl students, in 140 government schools across the country, Sachin Tendulkar has lived true to his demi God status even off the cricketing field.
Even as a Rajya Sabha member, Tendulkar has continued to further his philanthropic pursuits in the greater interests of the society. The former Indian batsman contributed Rs. 22 lakh from his MPLAD funds allotted to him during his stint as Rajya Sabha MP for the renovation of a Children’s Park in East Bandra. Tendulkar also donated his entire accumulated salary of Rs 90 lakh as an MP to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
One of the most phenomenal of success stories from north east India, internationally acclaimed boxer Mary Kom isn’t just a woman of many firsts. She also is as much an individual of substance in her many contributions to society. Among the most well known of Indian sports personalities for her unparalleled achievements in the boxing ring, this lady from Manipur has also made contributions to the cause of animal welfare.
An animal rights activist and a PETA India supporter, Mary Kom is an ardent advocate of the animal rights organization’s humane education campaign, Compassionate Citizen. The incumbent Rajya Sabha MP also wrote a letter to the education ministers of states and union territories across India requesting that the programme gets inclusion in official school curriculum. The Compassionate Citizen programme aims at teaching compassion to young children by making them learn to respect animals from an early age thus moulding them into kind and responsible citizens by encouraging them to refrain from violence against animals as well as fellow humans. The decorated boxer has also starred in an ad for the organization, appealing for an end to the use of elephants in circuses.
A player of numerous credibilities, the wall of Indian cricket Rahul Dravid is among the sports personalities lauded for his numerous contributions on and off the field. While his retirement from the game did not in any way keep him away from bettering the prospect of future players and budding talents, it also is Dravid’s commitments on the societal front that make him more exemplary a sporting spirit.
Currently the face of Bangalore Traffic Police, Dravid has been helping the police send public safety messages even while being an active part of the “I Won’t honk” campaign, aimed to reduce the noise pollution level in the city. Dravid is also a part of the Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA), and the UNICEF Supporter and AIDS Awareness Campaign that attempts to create awareness about the HIV AIDS disease and thereby work towards minimising chances of contraction of the deadly virus.
Among the fastest bowlers in the cricketing world in making his way to numerous firsts, Ravichandran Ashwin has been a bowling allrounder during his continuing stint with the Indian team. In his venture into social pursuits, Ashwin has come up with The Ashwin Foundation that also operates on objectives that focus on all round welfare of the society. While the primary objective of Ravichandra Ashwin’s venture is eye care and eye donation, the foundation also seeks to concentrate on such areas as the importance of blood donation, road safety and safe driving, 100 per cent voters’ turnout during elections. In fact as a brand ambassador for the Tamil Nadu state election commission during the 2016 polls, Ashwin’s foundation also was an additional step forward in realising his social responsibility.
The most successful Indian bowler of all time, Anil Kumble is another of the sports personalities that has graced cricket in the country with his many contributions. Nicknamed Jumbo because of his fast deliveries even as a spinner as well as for his huge feet, Kumble took the Jumbo passion a few notches ahead by setting up the Kumble Foundation- Jumbo Fund. As a soul passionate about wildlife conservation, Kumble’s fund primarily strives to raise funds and recognize the hard work of the people behind wildlife conservation.
Himself a wildlife photographer and the voice of the Asian elephant, the fund also supports research studies and activities related to the conservation and protection of wildlife. The wildlife conservationist through his fund also aims to work for the welfare of the forest staff by providing them with basic amenities, healthcare, and education besides working directly to the cause of conservation of wildlife and their habitats. In fact, his love for animals and the dedicated passion towards wildlife led Kumble to be appointed the Vice-Chair of the State Board for Wildlife by the Karnataka government. And Kumble’s persistence with his passion, as had been the case with his craft on the pitch, led Karnataka’s wildlife protected area to increase from 3.8 percent to over 5.2 percent during his tenure. Apart from the exclusive focus on wildlife however, the Kumble foundation also supports such causes as cancer prevention and treatment.
A hero lesser heralded for his contributions to India claiming the Cricket World Cup in 2013, Gautam Gambhir is another of the legendary sports personalities whose contribution to the Indian cause spans more than just the game. With the Gautam Gambhir Foundation, the former cricketer has been exploring the philanthropic realm since 2014.
In 2017, the foundation set up community kitchens in Delhi’s Patel Nagar area to feed the poor and underprivileged of the city. However, the Foundation is mainly concerned with reaching out to the children of paramilitary martyrs and providing them with immediate help and counselling. Additionally, the Gautam Gambhir Foundation also seeks to empower these orphaned children by supporting their entire educational needs while also working with adolescent girls from underprivileged homes in generating awareness on nutrition, health and hygiene. The foundation has also been instrumental in fostering environmental responsibility through its efforts to make Delhi green by planting trees the city to fight air pollution in the city. Also as an active member of the Lok Sabha, Gambhir has also taken measures to make Delhi safe for women through such measures as installing CCTV cameras in East Delhi.
He is famous as much for his inspiring battle against cancer as for his scintillating display of power packed shots in the cricketing realm. And former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh does well to combine his enduring grit and sporting spirit to emerge as a sports star who is attempting to uplift society through derivation from his own learning experience.
Having been afflicted with a deadly disease like cancer during the prime of his career, Singh showed enough determination to not only emerge from it victorious, but also stronger as he bounced back to reclaim his place in the Indian squad. His own frightening experience led Yuvraj to set up his own charity. Through the Yuvrag Singh Foundation (YouWeCan), the stylish batsman embarked on a distinctive journey, one that was aimed at defeating the fear and stigma of cancer among the masses. Through creating awareness as well as in dispelling the socio- psychological trauma associated with it, YouWeCan went about its mission of defeating cancer by setting up mobile cancer examination stations to make routine check- ups more accessible among the masses.
A flamboyant Indian batsmen and the charismatic captain of the national cricket team, Virat Kohli has been making and thrashing records ever since he emerged on the scene as a teenager. One of the most stylish among Indian sports personalities, Kohli’s contributions to the game is there for all to see. However, his professional commitments does not keep Kohli from pursuing his charitable and humanitarian interests.
The Virat Kohli Foundation is a charity undertaking of the cricketer that aims at helping underprivileged kids and conducts events to raise funds for the charity. In collaboration with NGOs and other organisations, the Virat Kohli foundation seeks to create awareness, seek support and raise funds for the various causes they endorse and the philanthropic work they engage in. From contributing to such causes as the education and healthcare of underprivileged children, the charity is a furtherment of Kohli’s desire to do something for the lesser fortunate section of the society.
Equally prominent is the Indian captain’s advocacy for the cause of animal welfare. For someone who has adopted 15 rescued dogs, some of which are blind, paraplegic and chronically ill, Kohli urges also his fellowmen not to shop but adopt dogs. Besides, through the VKF, Kohli also aids an old age home while panning out the Athlete Development Programme to help talented but underprivileged sports persons live their dreams.