A country of champions?

Mar 23, 2014, 02:35 IST | Gayathri Venugopalan

Buoyed by the success of the Indian cricket team and Pullela Gopichand’s academy, a first-of-its-kind high performance training centre has opened in Chennai. Will it work?

A brand new high-performance sports training centre, launched by two of the country’s best-known fitness experts, hopes to add muscles to the existing centres of excellence such as Pullela Gopichand’s Badminton Academy in Hyderabad in an attempt to train budding Indian athletes into world-class stars who are as strong mentally as they are physically.

Quantum Leap Performance Centre

The Quantum Leap Performance (QPL), founded by Ramji Srinivasan and Badri Narayanan, opened recently in Chennai. The founders have worked with world class athletes across different sports — Srinivasan was the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) fitness trainer with the senior team from 2009 to 2013 and has worked with Sachin Tendulkar, Narain Karthikeyan and Somdev Devvarman on an individual capacity while Narayanan has been working with players from the USTA (United States Tennis Association), ATP Tours, popular among whom is a recent Glam Slam Champion.

“The idea started about six years ago”, says Narayanan about the concept of starting a centre, which combined handling of physical and mental aspects of athletes. “Once the experience of working with multiple sports and sportspersons was achieved, the idea was to bring the knowledge to India and in a much bigger way,” he adds.

Mind over matter
Will building academies on the lines of those that have tasted success abroad be enough to create champions? Srinivasan reflects, “Fitness training at a young age is not fully incorporated into an athlete’s training programme here. Our sessions will be tailor-made for Indians. There are five-six variables, where Asians differ from Caucasians.

Even from the North to the South of India, the mindset is very different. We have to take the food-habits, facilities available, genetic loading and physiological factors before embarking on a personalised plan.” Another critical area that specialised fitness centres such as QPL will focus on is injury management.

Narayanan says that the idea is to work on the psychological impact of injuries as well. “Though the recovery methods will be in process, there is a tendency for players to be nervous. The player needs assistance to recover at all levels,” he adds

Their confidence in being able to produce world-class athletes is almost infectious. “Without any of these paraphernalia, our guys are able to do well. Imagine, if we provide them with good hardware to support the software, we would be world-beaters five years down the line,” concludes Srinivasan, on an optimistic note.

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