On the second day of a two-day visit (Mon 5 / Tue 6) to New Delhi, IAAF President Seb Coe signed an expression of intent with the Sports Authority of India, along with the Athletics Federation of India, for the establishment of a national centre of excellence for athletics.
The signing took place at the conclusion of President Coe’s visit to the Indian Government’s Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports. Accompanied by IAAF Council colleague Adille J Sumariwalla, President of the Athletics Federation of India, Coe met with Rajiv Yadav, Sports Secretary of the Government of India, and Injeti Srinivas, Director General of the Sports Authority of India.
The expression of intent concerned the establishment of a high performance athletics academy in the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium Complex, New Delhi. It will focus on the coaching of ‘speed, power and technical events’ covering all sprints, jumps and the combined events.
The centre’s goal will be to provide excellent coaching, integrated support services and education for athletes. The Sports Authority of India will contribute to and be responsible for funding and provision of facilities, while the IAAF will assist the education of elite coaches and help arrange athletics specialists to visit and work with the academy’s event coaches.
“Coaching sits at the heart of national ambition in athletics,” commented President Seb Coe. “You can invest in all the talent spotting, athletics grass roots and development programmes you like but if you don’t have good coaching and good coach education, it’s just a happy accident if anything happens.
“I therefore have found it so encouraging that of all things I have been asked during my visit to India it has been to support coaching and I’m pleased that the IAAF can offer that support.
“The IAAF must do everything possible to assist member federations with getting well-trained and educated coaches and athletes together. It also can’t be a one-size-fits-all scheme. We have to be flexible about how we tailor our development programmes to the needs of smaller federations,” concluded President Coe, who later attended a school athletics competition at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium.