'People need to know that there are others sports Indians are good at too.'

Want to know more about Indias entries in Rio These Chennai techies have a one-stop solution
Features Rio Olympics Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 12:15

Having represented his school at the national level and his college at the state level, cricket was always close to Chennai-based Niranjan Shankar’s heart. But it was his desire to introduce Indians to talented non-cricket sportspersons that led the 23-year-old to set up Roar India Rio, a website which tells you all about Indian athletes competing in Rio Olympics.

“I felt this was a social requirement. People need to know that there are other sports that Indians are good at too,” says Niranjan.

The website started as a simple exercise of turning theory into practice for Niranjan and his nine-member team, all IT professionals working together in Chennai. Web developers by profession, the team launched the website a week ago with information about athletes collated from their social media profiles, news articles and Wikipedia over two months.

 

The Roar India Rio team

(Left to right) Row 1: Niranjan, Anthony, Gunasekaran; Row 2: Dheeraj, Sakthivel, Jeganath; Row 3: Kishore, Sankara Srinivasan, Giridharan

 

Niranjan recalls how, when he was in school, some of his friends suffered because they were talented sportsmen, but not cricketers. “They played badminton and hockey and were really good, but never got the recognition our cricket team did,” he says. Niranjan didn’t want that to be the case for the Indian athletes competing for Olympics, which compelled him to do his bit.

The website has athletes divided by sport and subcategories within each sport, and features each athlete’s basic details, sports profiles, social media and past achievements. So far the website has profiled about 120 athletes, says Niranjan. He adds that for a layperson who doesn’t hold keen interest in sports, Roar India Rio with its back-to-basics format, can be a starting point.

Niranjan explains that building the website has also been a learning experience for his team too. One of the patterns they noticed was a clustering of athletes in certain regions. For instance, out of 36 sportspersons who have qualified for athletics, seven were from Haryana and nine from Kerala. Similarly, six out of eight wrestlers were born in Haryana and four out of seven badminton players inTelangana and Andhra Pradesh.

“I think certain athletes became role models in these regions, with the following sportspersons wanting to emulate them,” Niranjan surmises.

Initially, the website was supposed to be just a database. However, Niranjan says that the feedback and been overwhelmingly positive and now the website will have daily updates when the games start too. “Apart from schedules and medal tallies, we could also feature some articles if need be,” he says.

While no one else in his team is interested in the writing part, Niranjan isn’t worried. “I maintain a blog so I think that will help me handle the writing bit here too,” he says.

The young techie says he is going to Ireland in August to pursue his one-year Master’s in Computer Science. “I’m sure I will be able to contribute and maintain the website from there,” he says confidently.

Niranjan adds that they tried to contact the athletes for interviews through Facebook and Twitter, but did not receive a response from any of them.

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