PANAJI: Talent, encouragement, and opportunity – as a budding goalkeeper at the age of 15, Brahmanand Shankhwalkar was lucky to have all these three aspects in his favour. And that’s what he stresses even today.
“Parents must encourage their children in sports, especially those with potential so that they get the muchneeded exposure to pursue their dreams,” he says.
When it comes to Goan football, Shankhwalkar stands tall among the pantheon of all-time greats.
In his heyday, the former captain represented the country for 11 years, and led the state to 2 Santosh Trophy titles. With the 37th National Games being held in Goa, Shankhwalkar considers the marquee event a platform for athletes to compete in global sporting events.
“Parents must sow the seeds for their children’s success. Those who have the potential should be promoted early in life so that they can achieve their dreams. Competing in the National Games is important for athletes. It is a platform for events such as the Asian Games, Olympics, world championships and other international events. Every child aspires to compete in such events. We should ensure young athletes work hard in sports. Besides education, there should be no other distractions. It must be ensured that the child gets the best of facilities from the government and the private sector,” said Shankhwalkar, who is the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 1998, Padma Shri in 2022, and the Player of the Decade award by All India Football Federation. With the state government creating the best sporting infrastructure for the Games, Shankhwalkar puts the onus on athletes to make best use of the facilities to achieve success.
“Now, it depends on the athletes how they use the facilities and how they utilise their time. Hours of training sessions will lead to success. We need to make the best use of the infrastructure provided by the government. Also, the government has to ensure that children are given access to the facilities, at least for those who perform well in sports and display potential at the age of 16-17 years who eventually could make it to the Olympics. The facilities should be made free for them,” he says.
With the National Games being hosted in Goa, Shankhwalkar says that it was a long-awaited event. “I was longing to have the National Games in Goa since the time we were allocated the Games in 2007. Every 4 years, they would keep saying the Games would be held in Goa, but it never happened. Today, we celebrate this sporting event. When I went to wish our Hon. Sports Minister Govind Gaude last year after he assumed office, the only subject that was on his mind was hosting the National Games. He has worked hard to ensure infrastructure is in place,” he said.
On a parting note, Shankhwalkar has a quick word of advice for visitors in the state. “Besides their competitiveness, I would like the athletes to enjoy their stay in Goa, and take back good memories. Savour the food, especially Goan fish curry. And don’t forget to ask the type of fish served to you as the curry preparation depends on the fish!” About National Games The 37th National Games Goa 2023 is a prestigious sporting event aimed at promoting sportsmanship and unity across India. It will feature 43 sports disciplines with over 10,000+ athletesthat will compete from 28 Indian States, eight Union Territories and Services. The event will take place from October 26th to November 9th, 2023, at 28 venues across Goa, India. For more information, please contact: 1. Bjorn DeNiese: +919733009595; 2. Saurav Gupta: +918554913980; 3. Andrea Fernandes: +919822947494