Olympians, cricketers and top coaches came together on Sunday, December 22, to celebrate the official launch of Gaudium Sportopia, the 180 crores first of its kind centre of excellence for sports in India, where they will train the young and budding talents. India’s chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, table tennis coach Subramaniam Raman, chess guru RB Ramesh were the key speakers along with Leo Bruno, Technical Director, NBA Basketball Schools India, and Sean Jamison, Wanderers Sports Medical Centre, South Africa at the panel discussion conceived and conducted by Prasad Mangipudi, Mentor to Gaudium Sportopia.
The stalwarts emphasized how a sporting revolution has been brought about by the premier institution through an excellent merging of education and sports.
While laying out the roadmap, the 2001 All England Open champion, who is also the Mentor of Badminton Centre of Excellence at Gaudium Sportopia, stressed on the importance of physical literacy.
“If alphabets, words and sentences is called literacy, we need to move beyond alphabets and numerals, and focus on physical literacy because we, as a nation, have come down physically,” said Gopichand.
India’s top cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, Mentor – Cricket Centre of Excellence, harped on the importance of creating a sense of responsibility in children.
“In this era of gadgets, such a sporting revolution in schools is indeed a boon,” said the Arjuna awardee.
Echoing what the coach of two Olympic medallists said, chess guru and Mentor of the Chess Centre of Excellence, RB Ramesh congratulated the vision and its implementation, and said, “We have already produced many Grandmasters in chess. Instead of looking for an ideal system, we need to make the best of what is available and such initiatives can become a great contributor to improving the sporting system.”
Former four-time national champion and Arjuna awardee, Subramaniam Raman, who will be the Mentor of Table Tennis Centre of Excellence, lauded the efforts of Gaudium Sportopia as an integrated facility and added that it is an ideal facility to produce many Olympic medallists for the future.
While the platform addressed the importance of infrastructure and coaching for medal-winning Olympic sports, an interesting insight was provided by Leo Bruno, Mentor, Basketball Centre of Excellence when the conversation veered to the growth of basketball in the country.
“When the NBA came to India, one of our aims was to make kids love basketball. The passion is definitely there but it needs the support of educational institutes like it is in the American system, where the sport is connected to colleges and universities, which brings about more players.”
Out of a mammoth total investment of 180 crores INR, 45 cr has been spent exclusively in creating 25+ world-class and fully equipped professional sport academies to be set up in Hyderabad, built on close to 20 acres of land dedicated to indoor and outdoor sports as the centre and the sports hostels looks to be fully operational by 2020 as one of the country’s leading sporting excellence centre.