Renowned coach Dave Whatmore inaugurates the Go Getters Sports Academy at Kannur in the presence of N. Ram of Hindu and cricketers Sunil Valson, J.K. Mahendra and C.T.K. Nasir. Image Credit: Picture GGSA

Dubai: Until recently, Kerala was the second worst coronavirus-hit state in India. Through some strong ‘Break The Chain’ measures this state has become the first state to successfully control the spread of the virus. During these tough lockdown times, it was a mammoth task for most parents to keep their youngsters engaged at home. UAE’s veteran cricketers CTK Nazir and A K Nizar sprang into action with a free online and fitness tutorial programme through Go Getters Sports Academy based in Kannur, in North Kerala.

At a time when North Kerala was among the worst-hit regions, this academy’s initiative came as a blessing for parents.

Speaking to Gulf News, Nizar, who along with Nazir, are among the directors of this academy, said: “We had set up this academy in 2018 to give children from the smaller towns in North Kerala a supportive platform to hone their sporting skills. But when all training had to be stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we immediately worked out a plan to keep children active at home and groom them as well.”

Nazir, who is a businessman based in the UAE and was captain of the Nucaf Tellicherry team, continues to play domestic cricket here. He sat with Nizar, who had retired from Air Arabia, and worked out the plan. “We wanted to support the Kerala government’s drive to Break the Chain and realised that would be possible only by keeping youngsters at home. So we decided to teach them cricket as well as improve their fitness,” said Nazir.

The duo sought the help of UAE’s prolific scorer and Dubai based Prasanth Braggs who is an ICC Level 3 coach, Vyshakh Balan, BCCI Level One coach, and Rateesh Nair from Kannur. Together they created the tutorial lessons for the youngsters. (gogetters.co.in)

Go Getters Sports Academy was inaugurated in 2018 by renowned coach Dave Whatmore
Go Getters Sports Academy was inaugurated in 2018 by renowned coach Dave Whatmore Image Credit: gogetters.co.in

Go Getters Sports Academy was inaugurated in 2018 by renowned coach Dave Whatmore in the presence of India’s historic 1983 World Cup-winning team player Sunil Valson, and Kerala all-rounder J.K. Mahendra, who was among the first to reach the India junior team. Both these players hail from Kannur. “We had started this academy to unearth talented sportsmen. From the very beginning, our aim has not been to generate profits. That is how we approached the Kerala government and got an area behind the Kannur Collectorate building leased to us. Whatever money we have generated through sponsors from the academy has been pumped back into grooming youngsters,” said Nazir, who has also guided his brothers CTK Mashood and Usman Kutty into cricket. Both brothers went on to became Kerala state players, and they now coach youngsters in the UAE.

Nizar then went on to reveal how the Go Getters went about its task. “We were gearing up for the summer vacation camp in April when everything got shut down in Kerala from March 10. Many youngsters were heart-broken to learn that their coaching would have to stop. So we decided to try something new, something out of the box and went ahead with an online tutorial using social media apps such as WhatsApp and others. We wrote to parents saying that we have now created a “Cricket & Fitness coaching video” designed for their children to train during the lockdown period within their home. Our coaching team provided the details and instructions on how to follow the video.”

Nazir, Nizar, and coach Braggs are delighted that their plan, though based in UAE, could help youngsters battle the Coronavirus threat, although differently.