Bengaluru (Karnataka)[India], May 3 (ANI): At each venue in the second Khelo India University Games 2021, spectators, coaches, rivals and teammates crammed the sidelines, taking in the action on the field of play. While most were there to watch the action, some usually the most inconspicuous were there for a higher purpose.
Led by the respected football coach Pradip Dutta, a team of six Sports Authority of India’s High-Performance Directors spread across the KIUG 2021, watching every sport keenly, to find talent, scout potential and possibly induct it into the Khelo India scholarship or allocate them to National Centres of Excellence across the country.
The team, which included Wazir Singh, N Ramesh, Deepak Boro, Suresh Kumar Saini and Poonam Beniwal, has a huge amount of experience across a range of sports. While their scouting skills are paramount, the High-Performance Directors were also sought out by athletes, coaches and journalists.
“If you want to think about it in a simple manner, I would say we are selecting talent which can be in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme in the future. This is the base of the pyramid and this is where it starts. Our role is to make it strong and if it becomes strong you can build on it, ” said Dutta.
Wazir Singh elaborates on their work. “We analyse multiple verticals when deciding on the potential of an athlete,” says the athletics coach.
“The more the competitions, the deeper and more detailed our analysis. That way we can draw a chart of the athlete’s performance progression and judge and assess what they need to do. The key purpose of all these events, especially the juniors is to first, give athletes a platform to produce their best, and also to give them aid and help them elevate their potential,” Dr Wazir says.
After selection, a high-performance director (and in some cases the entire team of High-Performance Directors) has a conversation with an athlete’s coach, and the athlete and formulates a course of action.
This can include assigning an athlete to an NCOE, where he or she can train with a group of peers in the same event.
“If you’re training with peers, healthy competition will ensure you keep growing,” says Ramesh, arguably India’s foremost sprints coach. “It also exposes you to different training mechanisms, and techniques. You will learn a lot more.”
While it is natural to assume that a lot of this scouting, being athlete-centric, is centred on individual sports, the team insists that it is not true. Pradip Datta says the strategy changes when dealing with team sports. “Often in team sports, a player may be good but the team may not be a winning one. We have a different set of criteria,” he says.
Poonam Beniwal highlighted the importance of the scholarship, the scouting and the work the team does “Once selected athletes have access to our high-performance centres across the country The biggest beneficiary of Khelo India are the grassroot athletes who need this funding and these facilities to grow.”(ANI)