Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: In a determined bid to considerably enhance the burgeoning popularity of Mallakhamb in America, the Mallakhamb Federation of USA is adopting a long-term two-pronged approach. At the grassroots level, it is aiming to increase the ambit of this sport in the US, with its state federations already totalling ten suitably spreading the sport.
Not just this, the body is seeking affirmations and letters of recommendation from various National sports federations and consul-generals to pave the way for Mallakhamb to be a spectator sport at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Taking the initiative, the Maharashtra Olympic Association President, Ajit Pawar, and Secretary General, Namdev Shirgaonkar submitted a Letter of Recommendation to include Mallakhamb Demonstration in the 2028 Olympics to Gene Sykes, President, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
Actor and producer Raqesh Bapat who shared the press conference dais with Patankar and Namdev Shirgaonkar (Maharashtra Olympic Association) invoked the blessings of the Lord Ganesha to reach this ambitious goal, of somehow making Mallakhamb a spectator sport in the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.
Presently working in tandem with Maharashtra Olympic Association, the MFU has a mountain to climb in the future. In this regard, MOA has extended its total support, with the following Shri Ajit Pawar’s message giving due credence to this fact.
“The Maharashtra Olympic Association is committed to supporting native Indian sports like Mallakhamb and making it a part of the Olympic movement. Mallakhamb is an integral part of our National Games and is a way of life for Indians. We would be extremely delighted and proud to globalise our sport in the international arena to enable the world to enjoy its benefits and participate in it. Our endeavour at the MOA is not only to introduce Mallakhamb as an exhibitive sport but make it a permanent fixture at the Olympics. We hope this initiative will fructify and lead us to our destination,” said Ajitdada Pawar, President, Maharashtra Olympic Association
Namdev Shirgaonkar, Secretary General, Maharashtra Olympic Association, said, “The Maharashtra Olympic Association is committed to taking Mallakhamb to different corners of the world. It is our traditional sport and Indians living abroad should practice and popularise it. We should aim to display Mallakhamb at all multi-discipline events like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games en route to the Olympics.”
Long-term plan has been outlined by Chinmay Patankar (head coach, Team USA), what the association seriously needs are coaches who can assiduously spread the Mallakhamb message.
From its humble origins in Chinmay’s backyard, way back in 2013, with an initial outlay of a mere 3000 US dollars, the MFU aims to spread to all 52 states in the United States. And for that spectacular purpose, it has already started taking baby steps for which it has already created its own script.
What’s even more surprising is the language of currency to spread the Mallkhamb message is Marathi, with, of course, an English touch, to be in sync with its US audience. The American method, which is responsible for the popularity of a whole lot of sports is also being used, together with a distinct curriculum and an app to boot which helps its users to be self-taught Mallkhamb adherents.
As Chinmay candidly stated it would be one of his achievements if Team USA somehow gets the better of Team India in the World Championships to be held in Assam, but that would take some doing, thanks to the Indian entrenchment in the sport for a long time.
Also on the anvil, from producer Raqesh Bapat’s end, is a documentary detailing the progress of Mallakhamb. This will make one and all, get the picture, right!