Meet Rohith Maradapa, who’s batting for the unprivileged young athletes in India

(Think Change India)

Rohith Maradapa is trying to bring the Olympics concept of equality and fairness to poor athletes through his sports-based outreach programme in Tamil Nadu.

Rohith Maradapa is a national rower who had represented India by being a part of Indian men’s rowing eight in the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also a Young Change Maker (YCM) and had attended Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018 in August.

But what can be concluded as the 23-year-old’s best work yet is Rohith’s sports-based outreach project in Tamil Nadu to help poor young athletes to pursue sports.

Rohith Maradapa, Source:  Olympic.org

“I have always been passionate about fair play, equality and unity, and for me, this is what the Olympics is all about. I want to try to make a difference for the many economically disadvantaged children in my country. The Olympics treats every nation as equal. It is a level-playing field and it is this concept of fairness and equality that I aim to bring to my project back home,” Olympic.org quotes Rohith.

One of Rohith’s aims is to bring young Indian athletes under the global limelight. At YOG, he conducted various workshops and events to bridge the gap between the Indian athletes and various countries. He says,

“My role is to act as a bridge between the young Indian athletes and their Olympic heroes who will be there and make sure they are not discouraged by language barriers or embarrassment.”

It all started when Rohith noticed the stark difference in living conditions and exposure to opportunities between affluent children and those that live in the slums.

“Young people from poor places are at such a big disadvantage and need mentors and help to realise their potential,” he adds.

On what he aims to do, he adds, “My goal is to break down barriers and promote fair play through workshops and sports such as ultimate frisbee. It is my aim to encourage youngsters to embrace a collaborative and empathetic outlook and, in doing so, make it easier for disadvantaged young people to achieve more.”

Besides Rohith’s tryst with sports, he is also a Fellow at Young India Fellowship from Ashoka University. In the past, he has worked with leaders like Rohith Bhayana (CEO of General Electric’s Software) and Ashutosh Mayank.

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