The Delhi Sports University is likely to start admitting students from classes 6 to 9 from April next year and will start operations at the Ludlow Sports Castle in the national capital’s Civil Lines area, its Vice Chancellor Karnam Malleswari said. She said students who come in at a young age will be ready for the Olympics by the time they turn 18 or 19.
In an interview with PTI over phone, Malleswari, a former weightlifter and the first woman to bring home an Olympic medal said, teams from the university will be visiting sports belts of the country to identify talent. She noted that the good thing about the university is that it will have a school to enrol students at a young age and groom them for the Olympics.
“We will start admitting students from Class 6 onwards and that student will remain with us till the PhD level. The good thing will be that if an 11-year-old child comes to us, then by the time he reaches 18-19, he will be ready for the Olympics. We are planning to start admissions by April and will enrol students from classes 6-9,” she added. The admissions to the school are likely to start from April next year and the classes for the school will be starting at the Ludlow Sports Castle. Initially, 250 students will be enrolled, Malleswari said.
“The students will learn what is there in the school curriculum. However, the classes will be designed in a flexible way. They will go for training in the morning, then have breakfast and it will be followed by classes. “Instead of seven-hour classes, which is the norm in schools, the classes will be for three hours followed by lunch, some rest and evening (training) sessions. This is what we have planned till now and it’s still not on paper,” she said.
Malleswari said the university will be ready in two to three years. “We just have land for the university and to create the infrastructure we need two to three years. The sports that we have chosen for which we will be identifying talent are shooting, weightlifting, badminton, table tennis, athletics, swimming and archery,” she said.
Asked how the university will identify talent, the vice chancellor said teams from the university will visit areas that are considered sports belts, conduct trials and tests to shortlist students. “For instance, Hima Das is a sprinter who belongs to Odisha. Our teams will be visiting those villages in Odisha that are considered sports belts and talk to people, hold trials, and assess their (participants’) physical quality, muscle quality, bone quality and analyse which sport they are fit for to train them accordingly,” she added.
Though this sounds easy, it is a difficult task, Malleswari said, Identifying talent, convincing parents and training those children will require a lot of energy, she said, adding that she is “ready to put in the hard work”. “We are in touch with sports experts and players who are part of our network to identify potential talent. Anita Chaunu, at whose training academy Mirabai Chanu received her training, is a good friend of mine and is currently training some girls. I have told them that we will pay a visit,” she added.
Mirabai Chanu won the silver medal in the 49 kg weightlifting event at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics last week. Malleswari said the university will begin visits to identify talent within a month. The travel plans were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.