In today’s world you cannot take success for granted. Today, success means going the extra mile. Success means going against the odds and doing it again and again. It is your dedication, your sheer determination that helps you #GoTheDistance.

At Apollo Tyres, we know what it takes to be successful. We know how hard it is to reach the summit, and harder still to stay there. But, over the years we have done that, and we appreciate the people who do it every day.



They are the archetypal professionals, who dared to dream and did all it took to Go the Distance, both physically and mentally. Here’s what makes them our hero.


When you are on a difficult path, it becomes all too easy to focus on the ‘bad’ things. But that’s where heroes shine, by keeping their focus on the destination instead of the bumps on the road.

No Shortcuts

True heroes do not go the distance for fame or power. They do it because it’s the right thing to do. For them, the journey is as important as the destination, and there are no shortcuts.

Learning to love

The story of a hero is not a solitary one. It’s a story of the lives they have touched, people they have healed and helped along the way. That’s what makes their stories great.

Making it count

Win or lose, heroes are always remembered for their efforts, for taking the untrodden paths and pitching for those who are left behind. A hero makes every step count.

Just like you, we have our heroes too! Now, we showcase their incredible journeys. The stories of the underdogs, the stories of the youth, and above all, the stories of their tireless work both on and off the pitch that made them faster, stronger.


Karunalaya Social Service Society is a secular, non-profit voluntary organisation working for the protection and development of street and working children in Chennai City since 1995. It was started as a grassroots organisation for the care, protection and rehabilitation of runaway, destitute street children, children working in the fishing industry, street youth and empowerment of women in the fishing community, street and pavement dwelling communities and promoting sport among them.

Team India South comprising children from Karunalaya and Magic Bus participated in the Street Child Cricket World Cup in 2019 and won the trophy! They beat 10 teams from 9 countries including England, Tanzania, and Pakistan that participated in the tournament. Children from Karunalaya, both boys and girls, have also won multiple accolades in athletics events across the country.


Personality Felicitated: Dr. Paul Sunder Singh, Founder Secretary


Slum Soccer was founded in 2001 by Vijay Barse, a retired sports teacher in Nagpur. Vijay’s primary influence in starting the initiative was when he coached a few children in the nearby slums to play football. He observed that these children would gather every weekend just for the love of football. He coached about a dozen kids in the neighboring playground and was able to see how these kids came together to learn a new sport. He could see that the children liked having a purpose and were only too happy to find someone who could guide them. This was when he realized that football could be the means to transform the children living in the slum, and he started Slum Soccer.

Slum Soccer, an NGO based in the state of Maharashtra, aims to combat homelessness and improve the lives of millions of people. Football is used as the common thread that connects individuals to help promote learning and empowerment within communities. The power of football teaches useful life skills such as teamwork, self-discipline, acceptance, and other ways to enhance social development.

Slum Soccer’s multiple programs serve to enrich young people in these underprivileged areas. With over 20,000 beneficiaries, Slum Soccer’s programs include training coaches and young leaders in their communities to push for equal opportunities. Slum Soccer also provides health camps lead by general physicians for participants to learn about hygiene and nutrition.


Personality Felicitated: Mr. Vijay Barse, Founder and Dr. Abhijeet Barse, CEO


Aditi Chauhan is an Indian women's professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for India Rush and the Indian national team. She has previously played for English club West Ham United Ladies. She was a part of the India women's team that won the 2012 SAFF Women's Championship in Sri Lanka.

Aditi is the founder of She Kicks Football Academy, a Delhi-based female-centric football coaching academy. The academy aims to provide a platform where women footballers are provided world class guidance and mentorship while providing a holistic football curriculum in a safe environment. The main goals of the academy are:

  • Promote gender equality
  • Holistic personality development
  • Produce strong female sporting icons
  • Impart professional training in a safe environment
  • Emphasis on health and nutrition
  • Strength and conditioning sessions
  • Organize and partake in tournaments
  • Inculcate ethics through sports


Personality Felicitated: Aditi Chauhan, Founder


Mr. Jude Felix is the founder of Jude Felix Hockey Academy, an Arjuna Awardee, an Olympian, a Former Captain of the Indian National Hockey team, and the former Coach of the Indian team that won Gold at the 2014 Asian Games. He is currently coaching the Junior Indian Team.

The Jude Felix Hockey Academy (JFHA), Charitable Trust is a non-profit organization started in January 2009 by Olympians, Former International and National players to cultivate the game of hockey amongst the underprivileged children of India and to develop new talent for the game. JFHA is a unique sport-based NGO formed with the help of former hockey players, well-wishers and socially sensitive people, passionate to make a social impact at grassroots by creating sporting opportunities for children from vulnerable backgrounds. Delivering a professional approach towards the game of hockey, solely by managing volunteer’s time has been the highlight of the academy. The primary values the Academy stands for are Integrity, dignity, fair play and zero tolerance for discrimination. The Academy’s objectives are:

  • Promote Hockey in the Community
  • Impart hockey skills
  • Nurture talented players
  • Create a centre of excellence for grassroots hockey


Personality Felicitated: Jude Felix, Founder


Jayesh Dilip Rane (born 20 February 1993) is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a winger for ATK in the Indian Super League. He has won the Indian Super League in 2015 with Chennaiyin FC

In 2014, Rane was drafted by Chennaiyin FC for the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League and in the 2017 Indian Super League, he joined Atletico de Kolkata.

Jayesh Rane came into limelight due to his performances in the wing position and his ability to dribble past defenders. He earned praises from various managers across the league and he became a prime member of the Aizawl FC during the 2017 I league. Aizawl FC won the league that season.

Jayesh and his family undertake a lot of social work, and he credits his mother for inculcating values of giving in him. They have personally made several donations to people affected by the floods in the North East, and in Kerala. In 2017, Rane and Ashutosh Mehta (another ISL player) started a crowdfunding campaign to help the victims of the Mizoram floods. Ashutosh and Jayesh reached out to their colleagues, fans and various social media platforms to gather more support. Associated with Caritas India, an NGO whose main focus of work is disaster relief, the campaign looked to expand by raising funds for others causes affecting the northeast. Calling attention to how every penny can help save lives, the money raised was used to buy food supplies, water to drink, blankets and other essentials to help resuscitate the rescued.


PASS Collective is a self-sustained social enterprise startup designing meaningful goals through play with communities, through two interconnected verticals:

In their Design Studio vertical, they collaborate with value-aligned partners who are in need of design research, visual communication and service design. Their partners are working on initiatives mainly in the Development, Education and Sport sectors. The profit from the Studio partnerships internally funds their grassroots skills development vertical, Shining Stars Football Club.

Shining Stars Football Club (SSFC) is a not-for-profit community skills development program building with girls and boys from marginalised urban communities in Bangalore. On the pitch, SSFC focuses on football excellence through which the children and youth actively practice teamwork, gender equality and professionalism. Off the pitch, the children lead on creatively improving their communities, one step at a time, through teamwork and participatory design methods. Children from more than 40 different schools are represented in the “Recycle for Football” project. This project started in April 2017, from April till now they have recycled over 86,000 plastic bottles. The money collected from the recycling project is used to fund football equipment, goal posts, etc.



Hi5 Youth Foundation runs a free, multi-year, multi-level basketball coaching program for disadvantaged children called “Hope thru Hoops” – providing tribal/disadvantaged communities an alternate pathway to succeeding in life. Currently, Hi5 coaches over 2100 children, half of them being girls, at 20 centres (10 BMC schools, 2 Zilla Parishad Schools, 2 centres for slum children, 1 tribal Jr. college and 5 residential tribal /orphanage school) - making it one of the largest year-round grassroots basketball (sports education) development programs run by a single NGO. Their vision is to provide disadvantaged children with 'life-changing' opportunities through sports (basketball), and pursue a trickle down development from the court to their classrooms, thereby ensuring cohorts of 'first-gen' college goers leading a quantum jump in economic terms of their families and communities.

All Hi5's tribal children in 2018 as well as in 2019 from Palghar district, Maharashtra, have gone on to join a college, who otherwise would have dropped-out or been engaged in manual labour. Hi5 was founded by R. Sundar (IIMA '79) who has earlier successfully co-founded Mastek (IT Multinational) and Sankara Eye Foundation, both also registered in the USA, along with Usha Sundar and colleague P Ramaswamy, and 25 other team members with extensive experience in the development as well as commercial sector.

Hi5 is operational in 3 states – Maharashtra (15 centers), Telangana (4 centers) and West Bengal (1 center).


Personality Felicitated: Mrs Usha Sundar and Mr R. Sundar, Founders

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Pritam Kotal is a professional Indian footballer who was born in Uttarpara, West Bengal. He plays as a right-back (defender) for the ISL club ATK and the Indian men’s national team. Pritam Kotal began his club career with Pailan Arrows in 2011. After the team was disbanded, Pritam moved to Mohun Bagan during the 2013-14 season and helped them to win the 2015 I-league title with his performances. Pritam was also among the 84 Indians that were part of the inaugural Indian Super League season in 2014 and was drafted by FC Pune City on loan.

There, he played with former Inter Milan defender Bruno Cirillo which helped him to improve his game. He moved to Atletico de Kolkata in 2016.

Kotal made his international debut for India on 12 March 2015 in their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Nepal.

Pritam Kotal has started an academy this summer in the city of Uttarpara in West Bengal. He is financing the entire project and has taken several underprivileged kids under his wing. His academy train kids at the U-8,10,12,16 levels. The focus of these training sessions is on overall development of football skills of students with adequate emphasis on all-round personality development through football, fitness and nutrition lessons.

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Jeje Lalpekhlua is an Indian professional footballer who plays for the ISL club Chennaiyin FC and also plays for the Indian national football team.

He is the second highest Indian goalscorer in the Indian Super League since its inception. In 2015, he won the I-league with Mohun Bagan and the Indian Super League with Chennaiyin, and was subsequently named the FPAI Football Player of the Year.

The Chennaiyin FC captain conducts a grassroot programme for 150 kids in Hnahthial in Reiek, Mizoram. There are about 10 coaches and the programme has been running every summer for the last three years or so. The programme is funded by Jeje and he also provides them boots and kits.

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The Technical Director and Head of Youth Development for FC Goa, Derrick Pereira has always been a man of the community. He has played a crucial role in helping the grassroots initiatives of Forca Goa Foundation. The former national league-winning coach spends time with the coaches of the foundation - education about various aspects of coaching, He also helps these coaches become better scouts to unearth talent throughout the state of Goa. With the GFA, he has worked to coach the coaches for the improvement of football in the Marmugao zone. This initiative helps in giving direction and to enhance the knowledge of existing grassroots coaches as well as PE teachers from schools. All of Derrick’s work apart from being the Technical Director of FC Goa is pro bono. FC Goa has Forca Goa Foundation which is a non-profit organization which undertakes coaching the coaches and scouts to unearth talent along with coaching the GFA coaches and PE teachers in schools.

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Dr. Achyuta Samanta is the founder of Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT); Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), which provides free accommodation, food, healthcare, and education from class 1 to post-graduation with vocational training; KIIT International School (KIS), an International Baccalaureate affiliated school, and Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), a medical college.

Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences – KISS, Bhubaneswar, India is a fully free, fully residential home for over 50,000 poorest of the poor indigenous children who are provided holistic education from Kindergarten to Post Graduation along with lodging, boarding, health care facilities besides vocational, life skills empowerment.

Ranjit Naik, a student of KISS, was selected to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He has also won a silver medal in the 2nd Asian Grand Prix held in 2014 in Taipei, China.

Students of KISS have won the Rugby World Cup 3 times: U-14 Boys Rugby World Cup in 2007 in London, U-13 Boys International Rugby Tournament in 2011 in Manchester, U-13 Girls International Rugby Championship in 2014 in London. They also won Bronze at the Asia Rugby U-20 Women's Championship held in Vientiane, Laos.

Bhagyalakshmi Bharik, an indigenous girl from KISS, participated in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China as part of the Indian Rugby contingent.


Personality Felicitated: Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder

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Darren Caldeira is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a Central Midfielder for Kerala Blasters in the ISL. Darren Caldeira was part of the youth set-up at Mahindra United before going to Spain to train with La Liga side Valencia for a year. In 2010, he signed for Hero I-League side, Air India and played one season for them, later signing for Mumbai FC. Two years later, Bengaluru FC signed Caldeira and he spent two seasons there, after which he headed back to Mumbai FC in 2015. He was part of the Chennai City FC squad for the 2016-17 I-League season and a member of the ATK squad in the Hero ISL 2017-18 term. Caldeira last played for Mohun Bagan before making the move to the Kerala Blasters.

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Souvik Chakrabarti is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a defender for Mumbai City in the Indian Super League. Souvik started playing football from an early age, with his senior professional debut coming with Mohun Bagan in the Hero I-League. The defender first played in the Hero ISL for Delhi Dynamos FC in the 2014 season and went on to help the Lions reach the top four in the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. In the 2017-18 season, Chakrabarti plied his trade for debutants Jamshedpur FC, before turning out for Mumbai City in 2018-19.

Souvik, along with his brother Turja Chakrabarti, runs an NGO called Pratit International in their hometown of Baranagar. The NGO is actively involved in providing medical assistance to the underprivileged, primarily from the slum areas on the outskirts of Kolkata.

The NGO provides medical equipment, consultation and services at zero cost to the local residents. While the football calendar doesn’t allow Souvik to be hands-on with the operations of the NGO, the defender pays a visit to the centre every time he can and lends a helping hand.

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Anas Edathodika is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a centre back for ISL ATK and the Indian national football team.

Hailing from Malappuram in Kerala, Anas proved his worth in the backline of the Delhi Dynamos in Hero ISL 2015, having made the most clearances (163) by any player in that season. In the subsequent season, he once again led the backline where Delhi Dynamos finished as the semi-finalists. The 2017-18 and 2018-19 season, Anas played for Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters FC respectively but injuries limited his game time to just 15 matches combined over the two seasons.

Anas sponsors 100 kids in his home village of Malappuram. He looks after their education, sports coaching, and meals.

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Mehrajuddin Wadoo is a former Indian football player and is the current assistant coach of the Hyderabad FC. During his playing days, Wadoo played for clubs such as Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Salgaocar, Pune City, Chennaiyin, and Mumbai City. He also represented the India national team from 2005 to 2011.

Mehrajuddin heads the Football Players Welfare Association (FPWA) which has started a U-16 academy in Srinagar. Through a series of trials, the academy selects 30 players to train for four years post which they are set up at recognised clubs. The training and kits are completely taken care of by the academy. Mehrajuddin is also a consultant with the State FA and assists with the functioning of the State-owned academies. He recently started the Wadoo Football School of Excellence in Vashi where he coaches U-13, U-15, U-18 players for free, and has now tied up with La Nucia, a LaLiga Segunda Division B club. He has previously coached the U-18 team of FC Pune City.

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The Jungle Crows first kicked a rugby ball in Kolkata in 2004 as a bit of fun to play the game and teach it amongst a small group of friends - founding players included Paul Walsh and Shaun Kenworthy who both still live and work in Kolkata. The Jungle Crows is now a charitable trust registered in West Bengal operating a wide range of education and social welfare projects, all with a rugby ball around several communities all over Kolkata and Saraswatipur and in parts of Bangalore and Dumka.

Khelo Rugby is the Crow’s main social welfare programme which uses the power of sport (rugby) to support children in disadvantaged communities. operating in 30+ locations in the city which includes direct work in slum communities, with NGO partners and in schools. Coaches deliver a high quality rugby based sports experience to children every week. Each month they also deliver a programme developed by their coaches on a social theme; these include health and hygiene, gender equality, rugby values, etc.

To support the players the Crows began a micro scholarship scheme which allowed the players to apply for a small monthly stipend in return for coaching work. They now have 100+ youngsters who receive a scholarship which enables them to stay in school and avoid dropping out. Their U-18 boys are the national champions and the U-18 girls are ranked two in India. Players have gone onto play for West Bengal and India. Their senior men’s and women’s teams are current Calcutta Cup champions and both ranked in the top 4 in India. In the 2018/19 winter holidays they had camps in six different locations involving more than 2000 children over a cumulative 28 mornings. They have also been selected to represent Asia as a ‘Spirit of Rugby’ partner of the governing body of rugby ‘World Rugby’ where they have delivered rugby into new territories such as Nepal.


Personality Felicitated: Paul Walsh, Co-Founder

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