Coaches and sports scientists from India have teamed up with experts at the University of Birmingham to learn how their athletes can boost their performance, following Team GB’s outstanding Olympic success.

The 25-strong party includes ‘India’s fastest man’ 100 metres national record holder and Olympic athlete Anil Kumar Prakash, now an athletics coach. The group will spend two weeks exploring how they can combine coaching and sports science techniques. 

Experts from the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences and University Birmingham Sport have put together a comprehensive programme for the visitors.  The University has seen student Lily Owsley and alumna Sophie Bray win gold in the women’s hockey, whilst alumnus James Rodwell scooped silver with the Rugby Sevens – part of Team GB’s record haul of 67 medals in Rio. 

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The group includes coaches from a range of sports including athletics, volleyball, kabaddi, swimming and gymnastics. Indian sports scientists from a range of disciplines including nutrition, sports medicine and physiology have travelled to Birmingham. 

Put together by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the group’s arrival in Birmingham follows Dr Martin Toms’ discussions with the Indian Government’s Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and SAI about how the University of Birmingham could help the country’s athletes boost their performance. 

Dr Toms,Senior Lecturer in Sport Pedagogy in the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences, said: “Our experts at the University of Birmingham are world leaders in sports science and combining the latest research with coaching to help boost athletes’ performance. 

“We’re delighted to welcome our sporting guests to Birmingham. Everyone is looking forward to sharing our expertise with them and learning from their wealth of experience. Together we hope to make a significant contribution to improving performance across Indian sport.” 

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The two-week programme sees Birmingham experts sharing the latest thinking in a range of areas, including sports nutrition, sports psychology, performance analysis and injury rehabilitation. There will also be visits to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, Birmingham City FC and the Football Association HQ at St George’s Park, Burton-on-Trent. 

Lord Bilimoria, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham and the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in the UK, said: “Following team GB’s phenomenal success in the Rio 2016 Olympics, where Britain has emphatically shown that it is it is one of the world’s top sporting nations, and with the University of Birmingham’s pedigree as one of the top sports universities in the UK, there is no better time for this interaction with Indian coaches to take place.

“It is wonderful to hear that the University of Birmingham is working with India’s best coaches to boost athletes’ performance.  The UK and India have a long history of sharing expertise to our mutual benefit and I am pleased to see Birmingham continuing this tradition.  India is a country with undoubted sporting talent, and I am hopeful that this initiative will be instrumental in helping Indian athletes realise their full potential in future sporting events.” 

Dr. Rajdeep Kaur Talwar is Dean of the Faculty of Sports Sciences at the National Institute of Sports, in Patiala, Punjab and leader of the delegation. She is pictured above with Anil Kumar Prakash and Dr. Martin Toms.

She said: “The Sports Science Programme organised by the University of Birmingham for the coaches and scientists of Sports Authority of India is the first step towards the long term association and collaboration with Birmingham in the field of sports. 

“I am sure the programme will be very productive and highly beneficial for us.  We expect to derive utmost gains and use the knowledge acquired back in India in academic as well as research work."

Anil Kumar Prakash, who competed in the Sydney and Athens Olympics, said: “I’m looking forward to returning to India equipped with knowledge from Birmingham that will help to improve the performance of the young athletes I am coaching, as we prepare for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo.” 

Hockey coach Piyush Kumar Dubey said: “Congratulations to Team GB on an outstanding performance in winning gold in women’s hockey.  Indian hockey has a glorious history and our performances are improving. I hope the experts at Birmingham will help us achieve our goal of winning hockey medals at future Olympics.” 


Notes to Editors 

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Coaches visiting the University of Birmingham represent the following sports:

-       Archery,  Athletics, Volleyball, Table Tennis, Handball, Judo, Football, Badminton, Boxing, Kabaddi, Swimming, Hockey, Gymnastics, Tennis and Wrestling.

  • Sports scientists represented the following disciplines:

-           Biomechanics, Sports Medicine, Psychology, Physiology, Nutrition and Anthropometry

  • The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is a national sports body set up in 1984 by the Government of India to deliver excellence in sports across India. It has nine Regional Centres and two academic institutions.
  • SAI offers a variety of courses in sports coaching and sports medicine, as well as delivering graduate and post-graduate courses in physical education through its academic institutions. 

For more information or interviews, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or  +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.