Indore: Gulbarga’s Abhishek Shankar Pawar has established himself as a star performer for Karnataka boy’s football team in the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games 2022 in Indore. From kicking football barefoot during his school days to becoming top goal scorer at the Khelo India Youth Games, speaks about the potential and determination of the promising footballer, who plays in the forward line.
Abhishek Shankar Panwar might have earned the best scorer tag before the gold medal clash against Kerala on Friday, but he has one more task at hand — to score the match winner against Kerala and win gold for his team. The final match is scheduled for Friday. “Since the final match will be live on TV, my parents will be happy to see me winning the gold medal for the Karnataka team,” the son of a daily wage labour said.
The promising Karnataka footballer is thrilled to compete at the Khelo India Youth Games, saying it is a good platform to showcase talent. “This is my first time at Khelo India Youth Games platform. I just hope there is a team to scout talent to shortlist players like me,” Abhishek Shankar Panwar added. “Getting selected for a Khelo India Youth Games scholarship will be a support to me.”
According to a young footballer from a nondescript village, one hour drive from Gulbarga, his daily wage parents roughly earn Rs 10,000 a month. “The meagre financial resources are inadequate to play a good level of football,” the Karnataka footballer said.
Abhishek Shankar Panwar, said he couldn’t have reached this far without the support of local school teacher Deepak Kuppannavar. “Deepak Sir’s constant encouragement during my school days motivated me to continue to play football,” the Gulbarga footballer recalls. “I used to play football in school shoes in my formative years of play. I also used to play barefoot. But Deepak Sir got a pair of shoes and even gave pocket money to eat good food.”
Last year Abhishek Shankar Panwar gave a good account of himself in the local tournament in his region. His performance earned him a place in Bengaluru’s Kickstart Football Club in 2022. “It has been one year with the Kickstart Club in Bangalore. Things are better for me. I get more time to practice on a professional line,” the Karnataka footballer said.
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