IIS' swim programme sets 'A' qualification as its first goal

The IIS Swimming Programme, launched in 2023, features two state-of-the-art pools, allowing swimmers access to its high performance centre.
Last Updated : 03 July 2024, 15:02 IST

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Ballari: With an ambition to have Indian swimmers breach the ‘A’ qualification mark by 2032, JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) has launched a swimming programme in partnership with Mizuho Bank Ltd at their Vidyanagar facility in Ballari.

With 111 medals on offer across 35 events in total, swimming is one of the most rewarding disciplines in Olympics. However, India, have struggled to make any impression in the sports with any significant international success to boast of. 

“For us targeting the ‘A’ category qualification is the first parameter of success,” said Parth Jindal, founder of IIS, during a press conference held to announce the programme on Tuesday. 

“While we are very hopeful that some of our swimmers can do that by Los Angeles 2028, the success or failure of this programme will be decided by the 2032 Queensland Olympics. If we cannot produce a single ‘A’ qualification in the 2032 Games, we can safely say that this venture wasn’t successful. That is our expectation,” added Jindal. 

“Who knew 8-10 years ago we would have an Olympic gold medallist in athletics from India?,” said Rushdee Warley, CEO of IIS. “Neeraj Chopra made the unthinkable happen. That is the same hope from our swimming programme as well,” added the South African. 

The IIS Swimming Programme, launched in 2023, features two state-of-the-art pools, allowing swimmers access to its high performance centre. The athletes are provided with technical coaching under Arilson Champam coupled with support around sports science, strength & conditioning, nutrition, education, mental health and residential facilities.

“Honestly, the most tempting sport for us was judo because it has a Japanese angle to it,” said Piyush Agarwal, Senior Managing Director & Head, Mizuho - Corporate & Institutional Banking (India). “But we thought the most worthwhile sport was swimming since it will need a long-time commitment and this is our the first ever sports CSR investment in India.”

Swimmers Maana Patel along with Kushagra Rawat, Ishaan Mehra, Astha Choudhury, Ashmitha Chandra and Bikram Changmai are among those part of the Mizuho High Performance Swimming Programme. The IIS’s expertise in the sport also extends to its satellite centre in Odisha, where over 4000 young swimmers are trained through the ‘Learn to Swim’ programme, in partnership with the Odisha government.

Recollecting the difficulty in accessing good facilities, Maana shared that she began swimming at a pool in Ahmedabad without backstroke flags or lane lines. It was merely a pool filled with water, added the Olympian. 

“So for the longest time I had this fear of hitting my head to the finish wall,” said the 24-year-old backstroke specialist who represented India at the Tokyo 2020 Games. 

“It forced me to look back and finish that cost me a few seconds. That’s how I started. But today to see something like this, makes me really happy for my juniors who are getting such a great opportunity to excel. I wish I had this when I was much younger,” offered Maana who is one among 30 high-potential swimmers to be fully funded and supported by the programme.

Published 03 July 2024, 15:02 IST

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