The 9th edition of the Head Start Friendship Games Golf Championship 04 December 2023

Head Start FSG Golf 2023

The 9th edition of the Head Start Friendship Games Golf Championship was held on Monday, 04th December 2023 at the Karnataka Golf Association, Bangalore. The 18-hole Stroke Play/Stableford event featured 57 golfers from various schools, competing against each other in five categories.

FSG Golf 2023 Results >>

Disclaimer: The original Copyright(s) is (are) Solely owned by Head Start Educational Academy.

Once upon a Head Start Mile

Once upon a Head Start Mile
By Rahul Jain, a parent

At a recent run up Nandi Hills

At a recent run up Nandi Hills

Dear Head Start,

This happened about four years back on one of the Head Start Sports Day events at St John’s Hospital grounds. Sheetal and I were there cheering Tanvi as she participated in her events. It was a charged atmosphere with the rush of children from their respective team tents to field and excited announcements of events about to take place. All the children were putting in everything they had into the events. And the parents and teachers were continuously egging them on to try harder. There was a lot of laughter, some tears and a few scraped knees.

Out of the blue, there was an announcement for a “Head Start Mile” run for parents. Both Sheetal and I looked quizzically towards each other as we were not aware of such an event. Now there was a stronger excitement in the parent’s tent as to who will participate. I used to play badminton and visit the Gymnasium once in a while so I was confident that I would be able to complete the “Head Start Mile” so I registered for the run and so did about a dozen other parents.

After the children’s events ended, now it was our turn to line up at the start line to complete four rounds of the track in the ground and for our children to cheer. As soon as the race started, the ground was filled with the sound of each and every child cheering for either their own parent or the parent of their friend. Some of us parents ran fast in the first couple of rounds - ran out of steam somewhere in the middle and walked the remaining distance, where as some had decided to walk right from the word go. However there were some who paced themselves well and finished strong. I was one of the parents that somehow managed to finish the run. It was a great feeling to finish the Mile. I believe this feeling is what the runners call a “Runners High”. Soon after this the prize distribution ceremony was completed and the Sports Day was declared closed. The Sports Day had ended but the “Runners High” within me did not end.

Coming back home, I thought about the great experience that I had and how I would like to prepare and run better next year. As luck would have it I bumped into Riad, who had completed the “Head Start Mile” miles ahead of all the other parents at a restaurant the same evening and we discussed about how successful the Sports Day had been and how I would like to take on running more often so as to finish stronger next year. I decided that day that I would put together a plan and start running more regularly.

So began my journey. Initially I started with one minute walk one minute run and within a month or so I was running 2-3 kms without stopping. I soon found many running partners were on a similar journey to me. During one of the early Sunday morning runs, we discussed about TCS 10k one of the most prestigious 10km runs in the country which happens in Bangalore. I was unsure if I would be able to make it but I went ahead, registered and kept on scaling up my running.  A couple of weeks before the TCS 10k event the longest that I had ever run was 8km. On the day of the event with butterflies in my stomach I started and guess what I completed without stopping. I was ecstatic…I was on cloud 9, my first finisher’s medal and I was hooked!!!

Since that TCS 10k, I have participated in numerous 10km runs, about a dozen half marathons in and around Bangalore and also completed my first full marathon at Auroville, Pondicherry earlier this year. Running and general fitness (cross training/ weights and yoga) have now become an integral part of me, it does not matter if it is weekdays, weekends, on holiday – if I do not do some activity I feel like I have missed an important part of my daily life.

As I write this note, I am preparing for another half marathon at our own Bengaluru Marathon and I could not be happier. After such events when I meet other runners who are doing their first or nth long distance run, the usual topic is what got you started and my story always starts “Once upon a Head Start Mile…”

So thank you Head Start for introducing me to the Runners High.

Rahul Jain

The Head Start Friendship Games

The Head Start Friendship Games
Riad Mahmood 2014/July/02

Why The Head Start Friendship Games?

Competition has the power to bring out the worst in us. It can completely take control of our emotions and make us do things we may look back upon and regret. Such is its impact. The journey of a sportsman is long and not one that assures you where it may take you; such is life too. Playing the game, trying to beat ourselves by raising our own bars, can help us understand why we are playing. Can we just use this participation to learn together as one community of educators and take away from the games nothing more than an understanding and a valuable learning? For this to happen we educators and parents need to exhibit tremendous courage and grace while helping our children accept the outcomes. I see this as an opportunity to collectively educate not only our children but ourselves too, to learn from each other and to share our emotions, appreciate others and build our community.

Expectation comes with preparation and participation. It is natural and lies within the hearts of our children. This expectation or fear of outcome need not dominate the process of trying to be the best we can be. The more we enjoy the sport the better we get at it. What happens after the race or how we help our children manage themselves is what counts. Here we can play the role of educators not only to students of our own school but to all the participants.

They say the difference between the greats and the also ran is the ability to play the game by staying in the moment. Hard to understand and explain but a thought that can be nurtured at this tender age. What we say after the race counts just like what we say before it matters. We have seen some very moving moments so far and we have seen some unproductive ones.

“Head Start has always believed that its students should learn to manage what life has in store for them and sporting arenas are good places to learn to manage outcomes as well as emotions.”

Riad Mahmood, Founder Head Start Educational Academy

The start of the Friendship Games

The Head Start vision was founded in 1984 by Samina Mahmood through the inspiration of her Late husband Perweez Mahmood who was fondly called Tony. The Head Start Friendship Games was founded in 2005 by Riad Mahmood, Founder of Head Start Educational Academy, in memory of his late father who was an avid sportsman and who excelled at football and cricket. The trophy for the Games is thus called the Tony Mahmood memorial trophy.

In 2005, when Head Start Educational Academy began its humble journey, the Head Start Friendship Games were born, thus giving its children an opportunity to participate with children from other schools from an organised platform.

Director of Sports at Head Start Educational Academy, Loynel Johnas (joint state record holder for the 100 metres and former national medallist in the 200 metres) has been with the Head Start sports programme since 2005 and has played a vital role in helping this event evolve since its very first edition. His personal experience as a former champion has helped him understand the value of hosting a games that are well organised, look into the small details that go into hosting various sporting disciplines as well as make sure he has all the right arrangements so that the children can enjoy the games.

Disciplines Offered

Track and field events are what it all began with in the very first edition of the games. Sprinting, jumping, throwing and endurance running are all part of our athletic options.
Introduced a few years ago and is a major part of the games. Most age groups are covered.
It all began with a group of girls taking up the sport and has become a part of the games. For now we have only girl’s hockey.
Will be introduced this year as an official sport.
In our 10th edition we will be introducing tennis to the games.
This sport is growing very fast in our country and a lot of youngsters are taking to it. Golf has been part of the games for four years now and will continue to grow with the games.

We will look to adding more disciplines in time based on feasibility. We are also very thankful to all the schools that have participated so far in the games. Parents and children of participating schools have helped us share our spirit of participation and sportsmanship.

For the games we are all one school or a community that is working towards helping young people develop not only as sportsmen but also as future citizens who can impact society around them.

Head Start Friendship Games 2014

A report by Jishnu Kaiwar, Grade 9

I entered the ground at approximately 25 minutes past 7 in the morning. I had already attended 2 previous editions of the Games, both of them completely different from one another. This explained my trepidation as I walked through the gate. I was greeted by Loynel Uncle, who was unaware of my role in the Games. When I explained that I would be writing an article on them, he exclaimed, “Good. You’re here to do some work!” He left me with a pair of walkie-talkies that needed their batteries changed. After failing to get the walkie-talkies working again (due to battery leaks), I looked around. I seemed to be among the first children arriving, though the sports team and helpers who arrived a while before had already occupied the ground. Soon enough children started to trickle in, accompanied by parents who waited around for 5-10 minutes after the children had been handed over to the teachers in charge of their tent. The majority of the children who had arrived were in the Primary. They spoke excitedly in low tones as their teachers were busy talking to parents. It was only around four minutes to eight that the first ‘senior’ arrived. It was ten past eight when the U15 athletes began to arrive. From past experience, senior children seemed to have a better idea of the routine and delays of a school held athletic event.

The first Head Start Friendship Games were held in 2005. The children in the First Grade (the highest class at that time) had started PE classes. The school wanted to build on this and give the children a new experience by holding a Sports Day. However with only ten children in the Grade it would hardly provide them exposure to a sports event. The problem was sorted out by inviting two more schools (Bethany and Inventure Academy) to participate, and the first Friendship Games were held.

The Friendship Games of ’05 were truly held in the spirit of participation. With only thirty athletes, everyone got to do the event(s) they were comfortable with. All ten children of Head Start participated, without the hassle of holding selections. As the years passed, more and more children, parents as well as teachers became a part of the Head Start family. Even the Friendship Games grew with the family. This time over 15 schools came to participate under six different age categories. From the First to the Eighth grade, every athlete was there to encourage the spirit of participation.

Schools began to arrive, either by bus or each athlete individually. There was much talk in the tents about the schools. Juniors passed comments to each other like, “That greeny school will definitely be there” and the more senior athletes talked about other participants they had met in past games. The talking in the tent rapidly increased after some time. The teachers were too preoccupied handing out chest numbers to do anything about it. The enquiry desk was also overloaded with work, welcoming schools, sorting out kits, fixing problems and getting things organised. One person sat at the desk and 5 people behind him were bent over putting oranges into the right bags or organising chest numbers and handing out safety pins. There was a level of mayhem at the reporting desk that soon quietened down as the schools began to get ready for the March-Past. There had been a brief panic when the March-Past had been announced, as two schools hadn’t arrived. This led to a slight delay, in which a senior athlete had the time to say, “As usual we’ll be starting late”.

The March-Past finally did happen, though only one of the delayed schools made it on time. Riad Uncle took the salute as the schools marched past in alphabetical order with Head Start Educational Academy, the hosts, bringing up the rear. The captains of the various teams and Bharat Nagaraj (the Head Start captain) took the oath. The oath made me think about the spirit of the Friendship Games and what they were initially created for. I wondered if this spirit would be recognised and upheld this year as well. In a nutshell, the Head Start Friendship Games stand for getting together and working towards a particular discipline in sport, no matter what the outcome may be. We, at Head Start, believe that every athlete must have a good relationship with his or her sport which in turn means appreciating competitors as well as helping the young and inexperienced in the field. We feel that every athlete, no matter how accomplished, must be able to be part of a well-organised event with good officials. After all, we profusely believe in the spirit of participation.

After the March-Past, the events kicked off, the firsts being Long Jump and Sprints (heats) for all categories. Teams got back to their tents raising a dust cloud from the mud ground as they hastened along. The reporting area was crowded with athletes ready for Sprints and Long Jump. Our teachers were raucously advising athletes to sit on the dusty ground. They reluctantly obliged. The first event, the U7 Sprints (heats), kicked off at ten minutes past ten. There was a loud applause cheering the winners, who were escorted by the officials to their table. After the first few events the clapping and cheering quietened down considerably. For the events that succeeded the first few, a practice of dull applause and monotonous acclaim was established subsequent to the race. The heats have that effect: a tedious routine that leads up to an exhilarating final.

The Long Jump area had a completely different atmosphere. Most of the athletes were silent, waiting for their turn to jump. There was little talk, mostly pertaining to topics outside athletics. The Shot Put area also had a similar environment, little talk. Most of the athletes were very focused, probably because both events had direct finals. There was also limited audience for these events; parents and coaches outnumbered student spectators. Juniors were not allowed to leave their tents, however the more ‘responsible’ senior students were able to watch each other’s events.

The rest of the athletes sat around the reporting area, standing up when volunteers were looking away. The volunteers in the reporting area were flooded with work: instructing athletes, making sure everyone was present and at the same time helping teachers with their responsibilities. The Head Start tent was completely different from how it was in the morning; it was half empty and the teachers seemed to have given up the strict level of discipline that they had earlier implemented with the students. Chairs previously in a grid-like formation now littered the tent in semicircles or circles with the remainder scattered randomly and spilling outside the tent. Children of the First Grade, who had been sitting stiffly side by side, now seemed to have loosened up and were talking freely with their peers.

There was no clear demarcation between the end of the events and the beginning of lunch. I was still walking around, taking note of activities and helping volunteers when I was instructed to eat something. All the activity seemed to slow down and come to a brief hiatus. Children stuck mostly to their tents and talked to each other while eating.

The first call for the Relays was heard. Athletes slowly gathered their equipment and milled around the reporting area in a tangle of colour. Chaos defined the atmosphere. Teachers and volunteers were now screaming at the top of their lungs. It took a while (almost 15 minutes) for things to get sorted out and the events to begin. The tents were mostly empty; most of the athletes were in the reporting area preparing for their respective Relay. The Relays were among the most exciting events in this year’s Friendship Games. Relays are not about individual athletes. They are more comprehensive and require whole teams of runners to take part; each runner running what he or she is best at: straight, curve, anchor, 400m or 100m (in the case of the medley). The Relays are exceedingly intense for the athletes and the spectators, especially the children in this case: cheering for their team with monstrous fervour. One bad leg, one baton drop, one second in which the track is cut would take away the chances of winning.

The shuttle relay, held for the juniors was a less captivating event for an unfortunate reason: the majority of athletes in the reporting area had a very bad view of the race and had to enter the tracks or crane their necks, much to the difficulty of the volunteers who were trying to maintain the previously achieved level of organisation. The best view was from the announcer’s desk and the parents’ stands from which most of the ovation stemmed. The coaches of the various teams also enthusiastically supported the participants of the relay, calling out active tutelage to the young athletes who were already overwhelmed with performing the event itself. The 4x100 Relays obtained a higher level of cheer as the students all around the ground had a full view to the event and did not hesitate in giving support.

The Sprints’ finals unfortunately turned out to be a reversal. The audience responsibly applauded each final with a level of excitement however there was a measure of anticipation for the Relay finals that overshadowed the thrill of the Sprint finals. Finally, after the Sprints (finals) it was time for the Relay finals. Victories and losses were dealt with in good spirit and the excitement of the spectators never wavered. The Relay finals turned out to be quite successful in captivating the audience.

The climax of the Friendship Games finally arrived. As the last event of the day, the Medley Relay entered when the fire of the audience was at its hottest. The Medley was an event that Head Start has been conducting for several years. The relay team for the Medley consists of two girls and two boys (U15). Of these participants, each had to run either 400m (1st leg), 300m (2nd leg), 200m (3rd leg) or 100m (4th leg), summing up to a total of 1000m (which was 2.5 rounds of a 400m track).

To the dismay of the participants, what was initially supposed to be a direct final was split into two races from which the team with the best timing would win. Athletes fretted about having to do their best even if they were in the lead. The tension was great. The first race was won by DPS, with Inventure Academy second. The second race was a nerve-wracking event. The first leg runner from Head Start ran beautifully but a bit too fast and didn’t manage to keep his pace for the last 20m, putting Head Start in the second place to Parikrama. The next leg runner also ran beautifully, taking the lead and putting distance between him and second place. By then, the damage was done. The last two runners finished the race with ease thanks to the second leg runner. Ten minutes later the results for the Medley were announced; Head Start had won.

The prize distribution ceremony happened. Every winner was applauded with enthusiasm, the loudest cheers coming from the athlete’s school. By the time the winner of the tournament was announced, many of the athletes were sure who it would be. Their domination had been apparent since the beginning of the relays. Before the big revelation (using the word is somewhat ironic), Riad Uncle talked to all of us about how important it is to accept an outcome and how we are here to spread the message. After congratulating all athletes for their superb performance, he delivered the big news:
1. Vidya Shilp
2. Head Start
3. Vidya Niketan
The Vidya Shilp students celebrated and so did the Head Start students. All the other schools sportingly applauded their performance.

Finally after the event had been completed, I went back to my initial thoughts on following the spirit of the Games. We got together and participated in the sport of our speciality. We accepted the outcome of our events, applauding our winners. We maintained good relations with athletes from other schools. We respected our sport and avoided conflict with the officials. Everyone got a chance to take part in a fairly evaluated event. I personally believe that this year Head Start succeeded in spreading the message of the Friendship Games.