Kabaddi takes the centre stage at SAI's graduation ceremony

Kabaddi accounted for the single largest number of graduates from any one discipline, contributing 20 students to the total of 111 from 10 different sports.

Toppers from all disciplines at the Sports Authority of India's (Southern Centre) 42nd graduation ceremony of the diploma course in sports coaching in Bengaluru on Monday.   -  Shreedutta Chidananda

The impact of the Pro Kabaddi League on the popularity of the sport was visible at the Sports Authority of India’s (Southern Centre) 42nd graduation ceremony of the diploma course in sports coaching here on Monday.

Kabaddi accounted for the single largest number of graduates from any one discipline, contributing 20 students to the total of 111 from 10 different sports.

“Since the start of the Pro Kabaddi League, kabaddi has become a trend,” said A.S. Kirana Kumara, who topped the kabaddi stream.

“It is now a popular sport. All of us feel we can get an opportunity in the PKL if we are qualified NIS coaches.”

Yash Sharma from the lawn tennis discipline emerged the overall topper for the 2018-19 academic year, scoring 76.37 percent. A former player on the AITA's National U-16 circuit, the 25-year-old from Gwalior stated that he was keen to contribute to the sport.

“As a player, two of the main problems I faced were the lack of financial support and the absence of one consistent coach. At the academy where I was training, coaches used to change every six months. I want players to stick to one coach. My dream job would be to join the SAI as a coach,” he said.

R. Ramachandran, who finished tenth in the men's 3000m steeplechase final at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, topped the athletics discipline with 72.31 percent. The 34-year-old from the Army's Madras Regimental Centre in Wellington was National champion four years in a row (2010-13) and also narrowly missed the bronze medal at the 2011 Asian Championships in Japan.

“The Army encouraged me to complete this coaching course. I'm going to start coaching at the MRC and from there I hope to progress to the Army and Services teams,” he said.

Kreepa Sharma (badminton), Saroj Singh (hockey), Murali Krishna (kho kho), Md. Shanawaz (softball), Santanu Pramanik (swimming), Amit Kumar (taekwon-do), and Gadde Subash (volleyball) were the other toppers this academic year. Chief Guest K.R. Venugopal, Vice Chancellor, Bangalore University; M. Venkateshwar Reddy, Director, SAI Bengaluru; and K.V. Vinod Narayanan, head of academics, all addressed the gathering.