Young sports trainees march in line at the HIV & Sports project launch at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi
Saying “This is one battle India cannot afford to lose” Carol Bellamy launched a campaign to spread awareness about AIDS through sports in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India and the National AIDS Control Organisation.
For this, a handbook outlining sports drills that stress on awareness and safety has been jointly developed by UNICEF and the Sports Authority. The handbook details drills that coaches can use in their sports training sessions that simultaneously educate young people about the measures they can take to prevent the spread HIV/AIDS, as well as teaching them how to support those living with HIV/AIDS. A number of sports celebrities joined hands with Carol to drive home the urgent need to sensitise the younger generation against the danger of AIDS.
“The playing field is also a classroom and lessons learnt while competing in a friendly atmosphere with enjoyment and fun makes a strong impression on young minds,” noted Bellamy at the event.
After watching a couple of prototype drills from the handbook, she chatted with the children and sportingly agreed to bat a cricket ball bowled by Bishen Singh Bedi, former cricket captain of India and spinning ace.
Among the other sports celebrities who joined in the event were Geet Sethi, seven times World Billards Champion and Shiny Wilson Abraham, India Olympic sprinter. Also present were Dr. Sadhna Raut of NACO and Mr. B.K. Sinha, Secretary, Sports Authority of India.
With the second largest population of people living with HIV in the world (5.1 million), India is on a fast-track to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS and break the silence that traditionally surrounds this subject.