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India’s first International Sports University to open next month in Pune’s Balewadi: Sunil Kedar

International Sports University will be set up at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune
International Sports University will be set up at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune
Suhas Nayse
EXPERT

India will soon have its first International Sports University (ISU) at the sprawling Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, near Pune. The ambitious project of Maharashtra Government got a big boost when they announced the governing council (GC) of ISU recently.

"The proposed ISU will start functioning next month," said Maharashtra Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sunil Kedar while speaking with Sportskeeda in Nagpur on Saturday.

ISU will be the first of its kind in India and will provide solutions to the needs of all sportspeople. The aim of the ISU is to prepare a talented young force that would in turn help transform Maharashtra and India into a sporting superpower.

Sunil Kedar said that the ISU has been envisaged as an establishment with facilities matching international standards. In the first phase, three courses will start from October, 2021. The state plans have already sanctioned 213 posts for the ISU and it declared the GC a few days ago.

Strong ISU Governing Council includes ace former players and seasoned administrators: Kedar

GC members include former Indian footballer Henry Menezes, Bollywood star and former rugby player Rahul Bose, former vice-chancellor of Symbiosis University, Pune, Vidya Yerwadekar and former BCCI Head of Operations, Prof Ratnakar Shetty.

Maharashtra sports minister Sunil Kedar (C) at the proposed International Sports University
Maharashtra sports minister Sunil Kedar (C) at the proposed International Sports University

Other members of the GC include former Indian cricketer Nilesh Kulkarni, principal, Shivaji Sharirik Shikshan Mahavidyalaya, Amravati, Dr Anjali Thakre, and two-time Olympian and former Indian shooter Anjali Bhagwat. Maharashtra Sports Commissioner Omprakash Bakoria and Vandana Krishna complete the GC team.

“The rules and regulations of the ISU Act have been prepared and have been passed unanimously by members of both houses during the Maharashtra Government’s winter session. We have high expectations from the ISU and accordingly, we are aiming to create a place with facilities matching international standards. We want to create a place where students will acquire a high-level of expertise that in turn will make Maharashtra and India a force to reckon with in the future,” said Kedar.

Appointments with faculty and courses will begin next month: Kedar

According to Kedar, appointments of faculties and other administrative work will commence next month. He said ready infrastructure at Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune was the reason for selecting the venue.

“The infrastructure is ready in Pune. Had we planned to set up the ISU in some other city in Maharashtra, we would have spent a huge amount only on creating the infrastructure. It would not only have required more money but also time and several approvals from the government. We have infrastructure ready there. We only need to plan and start academics. Pune also has a rich history in sports. I hope the university will benefit everybody, not only in Maharashtra, but in the entire country,” said Kedar.
Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune will host the ISU
Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune will host the ISU

ISU will also provide job opportunities to sportspeople in the region. Kedar aims to develop a winning habit among sportspeople.

“We want Maharashtra to produce match winners who can excel at the international level in every sport. They should have grit and determination to perform only to win. Then only it is possible to produce medal winners. My aim is to inculcate determination and passion in every sportsperson of the state,” said Kedar.

The ISU will offer various courses including physical and sports education, sports sciences and sports medicine, sports technology, sports governance, sports management, sports media and communication, sports coaching and training.

In the first phase, a 3-year program in sports science and sports technology will be started. A 12-week program in sports coaching and training with a capacity of 50 students will begin in the initial stage.

“The ISU will also offer students an opportunity to learn from international experts in the field. There would be a provision of a students’ exchange program while international experts would be visiting the institute,” said Kedar.

He added that talks with prestigious institutes like the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for possible tie-ups with the ISU have been initiated.

Edited by S Chowdhury
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