SAI-run NIS proposes to drop tennis from curriculum

The general projection is a lack of response for the course, but the reality is the stringent eligibility criteria — a stumbling block for the aspirants.

T. Chandrasekaran with gymnast Dipa Karmakar.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN


It is the best tennis coaching course in the country; benefiting the fraternity for more than 50 years at a nominal cost for a one-year diploma. However, the National Institute of Sports, run by the Sports Authority of India, has a proposal to drop tennis from the curriculum come 2021.

The general projection is a lack of response for the course, but the reality is the stringent eligibility criteria has been proving a stumbling block for the aspirants.

With the best players focusing on better career or staying focused in the international circuit and the others not being able to meet the selection criteria, SAI has been reducing the number of students for the course over the years. The current batch has only three students for tennis.

There have been two demands to sustain the course and to help more aspirants benefit. One was to revise the syllabus, even though it has been generally agreed that the fundamentals of the game remain the same. Second, to relax the criteria so that players at the state or zonal level get to study the course.

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At the moment, a player should have competed in the national championship or in two editions of the All India Inter-University Championship.

"It was a wonderful course. We had allied subjects like general training, sports psychology, kinesiology and sports medicine. There were classes to teach us how to massage, operate ECG and gauge lung capacity," said the former national coach T. Chandrasekaran, who took the course in 1984-85, treated 'on duty' by the Railways.

In fact, Chandrasekaran had, during his stint at the National Tennis Academy in 2004-09, suggested the modernisation of the tennis course to the SAI. Even though there are many tennis coaching courses available at the national and international level, the NIS course has been unmatched, as it is quite elaborate.

Most significantly, it came with the advantage of being one of the qualifications for getting a government job at the state or central level, while being recognised globally.

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