Isha Outreach was awarded the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar for 2018 under the ‘Sports for Development’ category. The award was conferred in recognition of Action for Rural Rejuvenation which hosts the annual Gramotsavam sports festival in Tamil Nadu every year. The Award was presented by Hon’ble President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 25 September 2018. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present on the occasion. Sadhguru, Founder Isha Foundation received the Award on behalf of Isha Outreach.
Sadhguru, Founder of Isha Foundation, said “Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar to Isha Outreach is an acknowledgment of millions of Tamil people who have made sport an integral part of their lives through Gramotsavam.”
Isha Gramotsavam is an annual celebration of traditional and modern sports and rural life. It was introduced to make sports a part of daily life in rural communities to improve mental and physical well-being besides providing healthy recreation. Men, women and children compete in over 13 sports disciplines that include track and field events, volleyball and throwball and rural sports such as Selambu Attam, an ancient martial art and Rekala Race, a bullock cart race. The weeklong festival also showcases the traditional art, craft, food, folk music and dances of Tamil Nadu. Participants as young as 12 years and old as 75 years playing alongside each other in the Gramotsavam event.
Over 10,300 people from 880 teams participated in the 2017 edition of Gramotsavam which has become one of Tamil Nadu’s most popular annual sporting events. The event has promoted communal harmony and has broken barriers of age, religion, caste and gender in Tamil Nadu. It draws over 30,000 attendees each year.
Isha Outreach has also partnered with UNICEF to pilot the community sports initiative in Andhra Pradesh in 26 Grama Panchayats in Vishakapatnam district. Nearly 150 teams with over 400 women and over 500 men competed in the first Gramotsavam in Vishakapatnam in November 2017.
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