In an era of social media, parents are passionate about track and field


In this era of social media, more and more parents are encouraging their children to follow an individual sport like athletics, it has emerged during an interactive section on the opening day of the 19th edition of National Inter District Junior Athletics Meet (NIDJAM) here at Gujarat University Campus.

As social media has changed the lifestyle of school going students, Jaswant Singh, a father of three school going students from Rajpura in Punjab said, there are a good number of parents who are encouraging their children to enjoy outdoor events particularly track and field.

Jaswant Singh’s yet to be 14 years old son Jaskaranjot Singh will compete in triathlon A group here at NIDJAM and has a personal best of 1.75m in high jump.

Jaswant Singh has accompanied his son, saying it was a good opportunity for him to come and witness youngsters in big numbers here in Ahmedabad. “Since my son was tall and lanky, a school teacher in Rajpura advised him to start sports, particularly high jump,” the father said. “Physical activity keeps my son busy after school hours.”

Far away from Punjab, a young mother in Mumbai—Hemal Shah is also passionate about athletics. She has accompanied her son Maahir Shah to Ahmedabad for NIDJAM. “We want our son to excel in athletics. I’m excited to be part of this mega event—NIDJAM,” Hemal added.

According to Maahir’s mother, her son has attended two short summer camps since 2019 in Cardiff, Wales. “It was a good international exposure for Maahir. The experts overseeing the camp in Cardiff have suggested that he (Maahir) has potential to excel in long jump,” disclosed Hemal.

Maahir has joined an athletics academy in Bandra and often competes in athletics competitions. “Because of my son I’m happy to be part of this grassroots programme in the country,” Hemal added.

Ahana Chaudhary, a school going student from Burdwan, West Bengal is also passionate about track and field.

“We have a basketball court in our neighbourhood in Burdwan, but my daughter (Ahana Chaudhary) is more interested in running and jumping,” said Aahan’s mother.

Ahana will compete in the U16 pentathlon and individual 80m hurdles. “I was satisfied with my performance at the district level and should be able to do better here at the national level,” she said with an air of confidence.

The three-day competition starting here on Friday at Ahmedabad’s eight-lane Gujarat University synthetic track, has attracted 5,578 young athletes from 619 districts. The athletes will compete in U14 and U16 age groups.