Sports For Development
Reliance Foundation believes in sports as a medium to encourage lifelong learning, and to build character and leadership skills among the youth of India – our future nation builders. We believe that when children learn and play, communities grow and countries prosper. Besides using sports to empower the youth, we aim to create a platform for the champions of the future.
Besides, the Reliance Foundation Sports for Development platform nurtures sporting talent from across India at the grassroots stage and help them grow into high performers – through multi-pronged programmes, and in the process helps India set the bar high in sports.
Reliance Foundation believes in the power of collaboration to achieve the nation’s shared vision in sports. We forge partnerships with various sporting bodies to organise trainings and competitions, the development or improvement of sporting infrastructure to world-class standards and to ensure that budding talent have the necessary equipment to perform. The sports initiatives are free and open to all and have reached the remotest parts of the country, touching the lives of 2.15 crore (21.5 million) youngsters since inception.
Reliance Foundation Youth Sports
Started in 2016, Reliance Foundation Youth Sports(RFYS) aims to lay a strong foundation for India’s sporting future through the development of sports in schools and colleges. This is being done through inter-institutional competitions at all levels, scholarships for athletes, grants to institutions for sporting infrastructure as well as provisions for equipment and training of coaches. Today, RFYS is a prominent scouting platform for sporting talent in the country and has so far reached out to 90 lakh (9 million) youth and children across 26 states and Union Territories. During the pandemic, RFYS continued engaging the athletes and coaches with 44 virtual sessions on variety of sport training and related topics attended by 9,500+ people.
Reliance Foundation Young Champs
Reliance Foundation Young Champs is a football academy that runs a full-scholarship based residency programme to help nurture young talent in India. It was started in 2015 and is now recognised as the best residential football academy in India by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). By setting up a world class platform for training, and with strong emphasis on education, RFYC seeks to establish a robust pipeline of talented players for Indian football. Every year talent is scouted and new players are inducted into the academy. Graduates of the academy have been selected to play for professional clubs.
RFYC aims to be a platform where the brightest of India’s footballing talent is identified and honed to a professional level. Technology is an important enabler in this pursuit. More specifically, AI has proven extremely useful in helping find new talent in times of restricted physical interactions and in providing players, their coaches, physios and analysts crucial inputs to improve their game. The academy deployed AiSCOUT to identify talent when it was not possible to organise scouting camps.
AiSCOUT gauges relevant attributes of a player following trials and analyses their skills from videos. This enabled RFYC to reach deeper and wider into India than ever before while overcoming restrictions to talent discovery.
Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Program
The RF Jr. NBA initiative aims to tap India’s basketball talent by identifying and supporting development of players during the school years. Since its inception in 2013, the programme has engaged with over 1.1 crore (11 million) youth from 13,500 schools nationwide and trained over 13,000 physical education instructors.
During FY 2021-22, a 12-week viewing series was organised, which saw aspiring athletes interact with NBA and NBA G League players, legends and coaches. With 2,700 registrations, the series had a total digital reach of 3.3 million. Further, a Junior NBA Global Championships virtual clinic was conducted for 20 Most Valuable Players (MVPs) identified from the series.
Reliance Foundation Olympics Initiatives
The Reliance Foundation Olympics initiative began in 2019 with an aim to improve the country’s performance at Olympics and other prestigious international events, and to eventually elevate India’s sporting profile and enhance its engagement with the Olympic movement.
Reliance Foundation has partnered with the Odisha Government for operation of a High Performance Center for Athletics in Bhubaneswar (HPC) with the objective to produce in-house trained national and international medalists and development of athletics in the state of Odisha while becoming a national center for athletics and create a template for long term athlete development and elite athletes training in athletics.
Athletes from the HPC have already made significant strides. Amlan Borgohain won the Senior National title in Men’s 200m and broke the National Record. Jyothi Yarraji had a record breaking run during Europe tour where she broke the 100m Hurdles National Record thrice within 3 weeks and subsequently secured selection for the Commonwealth Games 2022 where she participated in the Women’s 100 hurdles and 4x100m relay.
Reliance Foundation is also supporting several elite athletes under its Athlete Scholarship programme and works closely with coaches, the government and sports federations.
During 2021-22, Reliance Foundation scholarship athletes bagged 12 international and 16 national medals in archery, badminton and weightlifting. Six athletes marked their spots in the India squad for Senior World Championships. Achinta Sheuli won a Gold Medal for India in Weightlifting Men’s 73 Kg Category at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham and created a Games Record.
Recently, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) announced a long-term partnership to enable the holistic growth of Athletics in India. Reliance Foundation has been a dedicated partner to AFI over the years and now the partnership is set to deepen the engagement between the two organisations.
Recognising the vital role sports science and medicine plays in improving sporting performance, Reliance has dedicated assistance in these areas to the scholarship athletes and to the Athletics National Camps through its partnership with Athletics Federation of India.
Under the leadership of its Founder Chairperson Mrs. Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation aim to lead the growth of the Olympic Movement in India. A significant step was taken when a delegation led by Mrs. Ambani won the bid to host the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Mumbai in 2023. RIL have also recently become principal partners of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) with rights to construct the India House at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Both the IOC Session 2023 and the India House 2024 are aimed to showcase that India is ready to become a significant player in the sporting world.