Who said Indians aren’t built for American football?

Raju will now go to USA and try his luck in American football

After the huge success of the Million Dollar Arm, Sportsmantra, a sports marketing and events company, has brought the concept of Million Dollar Kick to India.

The grand prize was to be an all-expense paid trip to the US for an American football coaching course at one of America’s top colleges, followed by a trial with top NFL teams to join their roster as an ‘NFL Kicker’. This could herald the start of an India story in American football.

Try-outs were conducted in all major cities such as Delhi, Lucknow, Dehradhun, Goa and Ahmedabad, with all men above the age of 16 being allowed to participate.

About 1000 hopefuls had a go at the game of American football.

Raju Vasudev Haldankar, a Goan footballer emerged as the winner at the national finals in Delhi.

He was expectedly ecstatic at his achievement.

“It’s a great feeling when you win something big, I am very happy to have won the Million Dollar Kick. It gives me a chance to represent my nation at the biggest stage in the world. Even though I won, I have massive respect for my fellow participants as they are among India’s best kickers.”

Neeraj Sareen, managing director of Sportsmantra , was excited to be at the helm of the progress of American football in India.

“The response we received for the inaugural season of the MDK India was phenomenal. In each of the try-outs, the enthusiasm for this new sport was amazing and after a long journey through various cities of India, we have six kickers, all of whom are winners in a way.

“Not just that, even the talent we got to see was awesome. It re-affirms our belief that this sport does have a great future in India, where football is already a big passion,” he said.

Apart from a trip to US for training and a chance to make the big league, Haldankar also received a prize of $5,000 (equivalent to just over Rs. 3.3 lakhs). He also received some other goodies to add to foster an even bigger smile.

Let’s hope the program turns out to be as successful as its predecessor. You never know, it could be made into a movie some day!

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