Chandigarh, 12 March: Some of the leading lights from the sports arena converged at Hotel Lalit here today for the sports conversation at the sports literature festival, Playwrite.

The whole day's discussions revolved around building an eco system to encourage the young talent from the rural areas especially girls, as well as from amongst the economically challenged children to come up and excel in the international sports.

The conversations were initiated at the very outset with the hockey Olympic veterans like hockey player Ashok Kumar son of legendary Olympian Dhyan Chand, Olympian Surinder Singh Sodhi and former hockey captain Rajpal Singh in conversation with veteran sports journalist Prabhjot Singh.

Surinder Sodhi reiterated that the proliferation of academies are killing hockey which are wasting the talent of many aspiring children while Rajpal said that the need is to allow the children at every level to choose the game and develop passion at the younger age, when money is not the objective of a child.

Ashok Kumar said that everyone at early childhood should get involved in sports for overall development.

In a session on courageous sportswomen, Reena Kaushal, the first Indian woman to ski in Antarctica, recalled the rigorous training she undertook to prepare herself for the game but lamented that despite the shortage of the funds, she relented and carried on to complete it, while Opender Sekhon from Bathinda overcame her brain tumour and major surgery and yet took plunge into athletics and won 43 medals and achieved 123 positions as a Master Athlete competing into sprint running, discuss throw, etc.

In another session on ‘Giant Leap for Womankind’, tennis player Sukhmani Sahota, international skiing champion Mishael Singh Kanwal, and cricketer Muskaan in conversation with Chitranjan Agarwal affirmed that sports women, more than anything else, require respect and acknowledgement of their capabilities to excel in sports.

In Fashion and Sports, a fashion designer Shweta along with golfer Tavleen Batra shared the emerging trends and bright colors that are the rage in activewearSpeaking about corporate participation in sports, Shoolini University’s keyfounder Ashish Khosla, Hartek’s Hartek Singh, IPR consultant Jitin Talwar in conversation with Delhi based senior sports writer G Rajaraman explored the possibilities of CSR funds and engagements that are possible.

Hartek Singh announced his company’s commitment to support any player in need and explained how Hartek Group has established Hartek League to encourage youth and would support any sports academy.

G.Majumdar and Tavleen Batra said that sportspeople should be creating their own social media presence and create personal brands to attract sponsorships.

The Playwrite Foundation conferred its annual awards on Veteran Olympian S S Sodhi,

Young Male Achiever Gurjoat Singh; Young Female Achiever Anjali; Outstanding Coach for Boxing Rajinder Singh; Courageous Sportsperson Reena Dharmshaktu who accomplished 900km skiing in Antartica; and Special Award for Harvinder Singh.

Dr. Mandeep Dhillon, the orthopedic expert from PGI presented insight into cricket injuries, while in a session moderated by famous cardiologist Dr. H.K. Bali Vijay Lokapally, sports writer Saurabh Duggal, and photographer Kamal Kishore explored several challenging moments in reporting sports.