Bhubaneswar: The Ekamra Sports Literary Festival (ESLF) which kicked off at a city hotel here Friday saw a big gathering of biggies like Jeff Thomson, Ben Johnson, Ric Charlesworth and Aakash Chopra at one place to celebrate sports and sports literature.
Many schoolchildren participated in the festival. Orissa POST interacted with some of them who were all excited about meeting such personalities.
Rahul Mishra of Class X at Mother’s Public School (MPS) said that it was a dream for him as he had able to watch Jeff Thomson so closely and asked him questions. “His talk and style motivated me and I love his talk on art of fast bowling.”
Sidhant Saurav Mishra, another student of MPS, said that he was proud that Odisha got the chance to host such kind of a sports literary festival. “It gives me immense pleasure and proud feeling. I loved the talk given by Jeff Thomson about his days as cricketer and his relationship with other cricketers, especially Indian cricketers. He said that he would come on the second day of the festival.”
Nimisha Gaurav of BMPS Takshila School, who fielded questions to Jeff about top cricketers he loved, said she was excited meeting Jeff and others and was very happy to get autograph of Thomson.
Prince Sahoo, another student, said he had got autographs of Jeff Thomson and Ric Charlesworth and felt awesome.
Sundeep Misra, the organiser of the ESLF and a sports journalist, said that bringing children to the festival is a positive way of focusing their attention on sports. It will also in one way motivate them to watch the coming Hockey World Cup.
A teacher who attended the festival with the students felt that such events should be organised regularly to inspire the students to pursue the sports in a positive way.