Going global

A group of students from Goa are all set to represent India at the First Global Challenge 2023, an international robotics competition that will be held in October in Singapore


A young robotics team from Goa, Team LegoGoa is all set to represent India at the First Global Challenge (FGC) to be held from October 7 to 10 in Singapore.

The five-member team which includes Sai Pranav Gandhi, Apurva Katkar, Atharv Sakhalkar, Venkatesh Dempo, and Viraj Marathe are mentored and groomed by LegoGoa, a six-year-old community club pursuing robotics and inspiring tech-savvy kids to aim higher.

First Global Challenge is an international robotics competition held in Olympic style, featuring participation from the world over. The contest, which sees participation from over 180 countries every year, intends to bring sports and science and technology together to inspire youth to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and develop relevant skills required in solving current pressing problems of the planet with an edge of science and technology.

STEM Education Trust, the official partner of First Global for selecting Team India floated the application for teams interested in participation at the global event some months ago and received around 40 applications.

“As the first level of filtration, each team had to make a machine which could throw a ball without any energy source. Team LegoGoa made a machine that threw the ball to a distance of 27 meters, which was the longest distance covered by any machine and close to double the distance of the second team,” shares trustee of STEM Education Trust, Gagan Goyal.

After successive rounds of “rigorous interviews” Team LegoGoa was selected as the representative of India at the FGC 2023.

“In Goa, it’s not easy to get resources. This includes not just kits and robots but also mentors, opportunities, exposure and inspiration to go ahead. Despite this, the team’s passion and drive was amazing,” says Goyal.

In fact, some of the team members are actually underage. “The qualifying age for the competition is 14 years. But two participants are 13 years old. However, we were so excited and confident about this team that we wrote to First Global and they gave us special permission to select this team,” says Goyal, who believes that robotics is an interesting way for children to learn about science and technology. “By learning robotics, students not only learn about science and technology but also learn critical thinking, develop problem-solving skills and the ability to present solutions,” says Goyal, adding that he thinks the access to STEM education should not be limited to big cities but should be accessible to masses and preferably at a young age.

In preparation for the event, the team members are learning computer-aided design every day for one hour from an expert so as to design the competition robot and animate it. The team meets online every day at 9 in the evening to review the work done for the day and plan for the next day. They also meet at the mentor’s home to learn the assembling of parts for the robot. Apart from this, the team is also meeting other FGC teams online to learn more about their culture, food and also about their preparation for the competition. “We have already met the countries of Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Croatia, and Iran,” says Dempo.

Gandhi adds that the daily meetings help assess the team’s progress. “The team mentor tracks the completion of milestones. The team also maintains a daily diary where they record the work completed against the work planned for the day. In addition, they have supporting mentors who motivate the team to stay focussed,” he says.



“I am nervous about being part of an international competition, but I am happy that I have this opportunity to represent my country.” ~ Sai Pranav Gandhi, Class 8, Sharada Mandir School, Miramar

“It’s a pleasant feeling to do something out of my comfort zone. Participating in an international competition among all the other countries is a big deal for us.” ~ Apurva Katkar, Class 10, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bambolim

“It’s mixed feelings for me. I am happy to represent the country and confident about our performance. But I am equally nervous because this is the first time we will be on such a big platform. I am looking forward to learning more about robotics, AI and MI.” ~ Atharv Sakhalkar, first-year mechanical diploma student at Agnel Polytechnic College, Verna

“I am proud and excited to represent India on the global platform and I am looking forward to all that I will learn along the way.” ~ Venkatesh Dempo, Class 8, Sharada Mandir School, Miramar

“It’s a proud moment to represent the country. I am looking forward to learning many things from this competition which will be helpful for my future such as thinking ability, communication, etc.” ~ Viraj Marathe, Class 8, Dr. K. B. Hedgewar Vidyamandir School, Sankhali