Now, a Vi­jay­na­gar king­dom of sports

Sportstar - - INSIDE INSPIRE INSTITUTE OF SPORTS - NEIL RODRICKS

One Au­gust af­ter­noon, a large num­ber of young­sters, all aged be­tween 12 and 19, are go­ing hard at prac­tice. In­side the au­di­to­rium, there is a thud as a girl, maybe 13 or 14 years old, slams an­other to the mat. To the left, a trainer ex­plains grap­pling tech­niques to one of his wards, while a hand­ful of boys climb ropes up to at least 12 feet, all on the power of their own limbs. To the right, pairs of boys and girls take mea­sured swings at each other — with pro­tec­tive gear, of course — in a ring, while oth­ers spar out­side it.

The au­di­to­rium — the com­bat sports hall — is part of a 42­acre cam­pus nes­tled in the red­sand hills of Vi­jay­na­gar, a town in north­ern Kar­nataka that bears the name of the Vi­jayana­gara em­pire of Kr­ish­nade­varaya, who ruled most of south In­dia in the early 16th cen­tury from Hampi, just 30km away.

The In­spire In­sti­tute of Sport, built and run by JSW Sports, is lo­cated in the Bel­laryHospet iron ore belt that is dom­i­nated by the JSW Group. Ad­ja­cent to the JSW Group’s Vidyana­gar town­ship, it is In­ dia’s first pri­vately funded high­per­for­mance sports train­ing in­sti­tute. The aim: to send the coun­try’s young ath­letes to the Olympic Games.

The in­spi­ra­tion

Parth Jin­dal, IIS’S founder and the di­rec­tor of JSW Sports, says the spark was Ab­hi­nav Bin­dra’s gold medal in the 10m air ri­fle event at the 200■ Bei­jing Olympics. “It had been count­less years since ‘Jana Gana Mana’ had even played at the Olympic Games. But in 200■, on that day, in Bei­jing, it played, and we all cried. The dream of IIS is to make that mo­ment re­peat it­self nu­mer­ous times over and we can feel proud that In­dia is not only ris­ing as an eco­nomic pow­er­house, but is ris­ing as a sport­ing pow­er­house,” he said at the in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony on In­dia’s 72nd In­de­pen­dence Day.

The aim of the IIS is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where no tal­ented ath­lete is de­prived of suc­cess be­cause of a lack of re­sources, in­fras­truc­ture or train­ing sup­port, Jin­dal said. So, the JSW Sports team planned ex­ten­sively and con­ducted on­ground re­search suf­fi­cient to build an in­sti­tute such as this.

“We vis­ited some of the top fa­cil­i­ties in the world, got an un­der­stand­ing of how they went about the busi­ness of pro­duc­ing elite ath­letes. Yes, we have learned from the best. We’ve tried to incorporate all the best prac­tices. And we con­tinue to pick on what’s hap

pen­ing glob­ally so

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