Coaching sits at the very heart of athletics’ – President Coe signs agreement for Indian centre of excellence

India, Oct 6, 2015: 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.

Guest Editor for The Times of India
Also during his busy two-day Indian itinerary, President Coe visited the offices of The Times of India, which with a current readership of 7.6 million is India’s most widely read English newspaper and one of the world’s largest circulated daily. There Seb Coe met with the editor and staff and was honoured to be Guest Editor of the Day.

The Indian trip had begun on Monday with Seb Coe attending the opening of the Executive Council meeting of the Athletics Federation of India and, later the same day, the South Asian Federation Athletics Council meeting.

In speeches delivered to inaugurate both meetings, the IAAF President reflected on the enormous athletics potential and the vast opportunities for development and growth in India and across Asia. That with Asia home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies and 60% of the world’s youth population (15-24) living in Asia, the challenge was to build a youth fan base for athletics to attract an increasingly affluent Asian public.

President Coe confirmed that the IAAF, as well as empowering and working with its area and national member federations to support tailored development, needed to work with them to maximise commercial opportunities. —- IAAF

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