I have been passionately and voluntarily developing Australian Football in India since 2011. After representing India in the sport in 2008, I took up charge to grow the game in India along with leading the team on field to India’s first international victory in the sport.
I completed my Masters in Sport Management from the UK, and spent time in footy-playing countries in Europe to learn how the sport is being grown overseas. I also did my Masters thesis on ‘How to promote Footy in Europe.’ I then returned home to dedicate myself to grow footy in India.
I travelled around India at my own expense to start footy in the diverse areas of India as most of our players come from poor families living in the slums or distant villages.
I was able to successfully receive the Australian Government’s Sport Outreach Programme grant, which helped establish the national federation of the sport, ‘Australian Rules Football Association of India.’ This programme saw 3,000 kids play footy across three states of India. I was also successful in receiving the Direct Aid Programme grant from the Australian High Commission in India and work with 1,700 indigenous kids in Odisha.
I managed both the AFL International Cups in 2011 and 2014 for the Indian team, and got the Richmond Football Club to support us.
At the moment, I am working as a ‘Community Officer’ with Essendon FC and AFL Victoria, focusing on engaging Indian communities in Australia with Footy.