Just reward for this Dronacharya

Just reward for this Dronacharya

Well deserved

Just reward for this Dronacharya

Dedicating his Dronacharya award to his family and the swimmers at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre, coach Pradeep Kumar said that this recognition couldn’t have come at a better time for the Indian swimming community that has seen a handful of promising age-group swimmers pushing the limits to achieve greater heights.

The renowned Bengaluru-based coach was chosen for the honour in the list of sports awardees announced by the ministry of sports on Monday. 

“I am happy and honoured,” Pradeep told Deccan Herald. “Last year it was Nihar (Ameen) and this year it’s me. This shows that if you put in efforts and continue to do your bit, results will follow. And, if you ask me, I don’t think the recognition could have come at a better time. There are a number of age-group swimmers who are doing well and I believe recognition like these will help them push themselves even further,” he added.

Having been involved in the sport for close to three decades, Kumar has produced a handful of Olympians like Nisha Millet, Rehan Pooncha and Sajan Prakash. While their talent has never been in question, according to Pradeep, it is their dedication that has helped setting bigger goals in their career.

“If there is one common factor between the guys you mentioned, then it should be their dedication. For them, swimming was the primary focus. Unlike today, where you see a swimmer’s main focus is academics and swimming has become a means to achieve their academic goal. These guys wanted to be good swimmers and compete at the biggest stage.”

Monetary backing has been a problem that has hit the swimming community for long. Though swimming in India relies heavily on government funding, Pradeep believes that it’s up to the corporates to come in and help the sport as not much can be expected out of the government.

“I wouldn’t say that the government hasn’t done anything. But we should understand that even the government has its limitations. Swimming is not their only concern. I believe that corporates should come forward and support the sport. If one or two corporates step in we can bring about a sea-change in this sport.

“People now speak about Sajan finishing 28th in his race (at Rio Olympics). But hardly does anyone know that the difference between him (1:59.37) and the finalist was just two seconds (1:57.04). With just a swimmer, pool and a timer in my hand this is the best we can do. To go froward, we need funds. There should be a scientific and a systematic approach to the sport and for that we need investments,” he explained.

 

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