SAI-Abhinav Bindra Centre & CSE launched in Bengaluru

At the event, graced by legends such as Rahul Dravid, Prakash Padukone and Paralympic Gold medallists Murlikant Petkar and Devendra Jhajharia, Abhinav Bindra hoped that it will be the go-to place for every high-performance athlete.

The Sports Authority of India – Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance Centre was inaugurated here on Saturday. The Centre, a brain-child of Olympic Gold medal-winning shooter Bindra, is located at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence (CSE) – which also saw its launch the same day – and will be fully operational from January 1, 2018.

At the event, graced by legends such as Rahul Dravid, Prakash Padukone and Paralympic Gold medallists Murlikant Petkar and Devendra Jhajharia, Bindra hoped that it will be the go-to place for every high-performance athlete. “I dedicate this centre to my parents and is my way of thanking them for all their efforts.”

The unit will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology like the first-ever deployment of a Digital Wall in the world, a pilates studio (for physical conditioning), Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training and a cryo-chamber, which will enable immediate cooling for the whole body at temperatures as low as -140 degree centigrade and aid in recovery.

“I would like to congratulate Abhinav for how quickly he found the vision and brought the whole thing to fruition,” said Dravid. “It actually took me two to three years to decide what I wanted to do. That’s probably the difference between a sharp-shooter and a Test batsman!”

The facilities will be open for the elite Indian athletes to use through the partnership with SAI and will also be made available for the various other sports academies at the site. The CSE, a fully private entity of which entrepreneur Vivek Kumar is the main promoter, in fact, boasts of training amenities in multiple sports.

This includes an Olympic standard swimming pool, an international size football pitch, 16 badminton courts, 5 full-sized and 4 quick-start tennis courts, a cricket ground and four international standard squash courts.

“In this day children specialise very early,” said Dravid. “This facility will help them experience different sports all at one place before they decide to pick one. With so many quality coaches and access to sports science, it will lead to sharing of knowledge and ideas across sports and I hope this becomes the hub of learning and innovation.”

One of the first disciplines to take advantage of all this will be badminton with the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy – an SAI recognised center where Saina Nehwal trained until recently – set to move all its operations from the Karnataka Badminton Association (KBA) premises by February 2018.

“We started from one court in a marriage hall to three at the Canara Union, to 10 at the KBA and have reached 16 now,” said Padukone reminiscing the past. “We can now train more people and I hope this becomes ‘the centre’ for sports and an iconic destination in future.”