Episode 9 | Suheil Tandon is using sports to transform India

My guest this week is Suheil Tandon, the Founder and Director of Pro Sport Development, an NGO in India with the lofty mission of using sports to transform India’s youth. This group first showed up on my radar when they were raising money to buy shoes for children/youth in one of their projects so that said youth could compete in a running event. I have watched stories of the transformation that they bring to the communities that they work with, for the youth themselves, for the parents in the community who start to think about sports differently, and also to the instructors, who learn new pedagogical methods as a part of the process.

One of the things that surprised me in this conversation was the poor government/policy coordination when it comes to setting priorities in sporting. If winning medals was truly the priority for the last several years, I’m not sure India got what it paid for, so an approach that looks for better health and human development outcomes seems worth at shot. But outside of the fact that there are new talking points in town, I’m not sure that there’s anything encouraging on India’s sports-policy front. I’d be happy to have India’s “Sports and Youth Minister” on the podcast if he’d like to shed some insight. His Twitter feed is certainly not reflecting of any change in thinking.

One fascinating nugget for me was Suheil’s decision to not cater to small donors at all. It’s a really smart move, and I think he’ll look back in 5 years and feel really good about having side-stepped that.

Suheil is an alumnus of Woodstock School, McGill University, and Loughborough University. Y’all should be proud.

1 thought on “Episode 9 | Suheil Tandon is using sports to transform India”

  1. This was a really enlightening and interesting interview!
    I assumed I knew why India did so poorly in athletics, i.e. number of medals at the Olympics. There is much more to this poor performance than it appears.

    A strong sports program at school level is where this will change. And it’s so important, as this is one of the best ways to push children outside their comfort zone.

    Cricket in India must be an example of the most dominant sport in any country. There is no village where some sort of wicket is set up or sketched on a wall and a ball is created from stuffing paper into an old sock.

    Thanks for sharing Akshay!

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