JSW Sports on Wednesday officially opened India’s first privately funded high performance sports training institute that targets sending the country’s young athletes to the Olympic Games at Vijaynagar in Karnataka’s Ballari district.
The Inspire Institute of Sport, located adjacent to the JSW Group’s Vidyanagar township in Vijaynagar and covering an area of 42 acres, has advanced facilities for training in track and field, swimming, wrestling, boxing and judo. The institute, which took four years to build, was completed in April and currently houses 120 young athletes aged 12 years and upwards training in wrestling, judo and boxing. The track and field programme is expected to begin next month.
“The Inspire Institute of Sport is not just another institute; it is a movement. It has been built for India, by Indians, to help athletes make a mark at the global stage. Our vision is for IIS to be the destination of choice for every Indian athlete who dreams of Olympic success. Through the institute, we want to create an environment where no talented athlete is deprived of success because of a lack of resources, infrastructure or training support,” said JSW Sports director Parth Jindal.
“We have done extensive planning and on-ground research before building this facility. We visited high-performance centres across the world, collecting crucial insights into the functioning of such training institutes,” said Mustafa Ghouse, the chief executive officer of JSW Sports.
IIS currently has a 400m athletics track approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations, a 42,000 sq. ft high-performance centre and a 16,000 sq. ft strength and conditioning centre. An aquatics centre approved by FINA, the world body that administers water sports, is scheduled to be operational by 2019.
The institute has a diverse staff of 40 from eight countries, including CEO Rushdee Warley (from South Africa); Damien Jacomelli, the head coach for wrestling (France); Ronald Simms, the head boxing coach (the US); Mamuka Kizilashvili, the head judo coach (Georgia); Antony Yaich, the head coach for track and field (France); Dale Harris, who heads strength and conditioning (Australia); Dhananjay Kaushik, the head of physiotherapy; Dr Kevin Caillaud, the head of exercise physiology (France); and Khushboo Kakkad, the education programme leader.
The high-performance training centre was inaugurated by Balbir Singh, a member of India’s gold medal-winning hockey teams at the 1948, ’52 and ’56 Olympics; Abhinav Bindra, India’s first Olympic gold medallist in shooting; Yogeshwar Dutt, a bronze medallist in wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics; and 12-time doubles Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi, in addition to Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of the JSW Group and the father of Parth Jindal.
Singh, Bindra, Dutt and Bhupathi were felicitated at the ceremony at IIS’s combat sports auditorium, in addition to Olympians such as Geeta Phogat, the first female wrestler from India to qualify for the Games; shooter Anjali Bhagwat, a finalist at Sydney 2000; judoka Cawas Billimoria, who participated in the 1988 and 1992 Games; and Vece Paes, a member of the bronze medal-winning 1972 hockey team and the father of Leander Paes.
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