India Sport S&F2 - web
Bilquish Mir, canoe/kayak coach; Varinder Verma, handball coach/conditioning coach; and Kamal Ali Khan, athletics coach visiting the University of Birmingham

Sports coaches from India have teamed up again with experts at the University of Birmingham to learn how latest research and training techniques can help to boost athletes’ performance.

The 22-strong party spent two weeks following a strength and conditioning programme put together by experts from the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences and University Birmingham Sport.

Their visit follows an agreement signed in November by the University of Birmingham and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to work together and help improve the sporting performance of India’s athletes.

Coaches specialising in sports including handball, canoeing and athletics studied a range of areas such as injury prevention, upper- and lower-body strength, agility and plyometrics - exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power.

Handball coach Varinder Verma said: “We’ve been amazed by the management, execution and training we received from University of Birmingham experts during this programme. We lack this knowledge in India and have learnt so much that we will be able to use with our athletes.”

Canoeing/kayaking coach Bilquish Mir said: “This has been the best experience of our life and we’re very grateful to the experts at Birmingham for welcoming us and teaching us so much. We’ve been really inspired and will be able to replicate these methods back home. ”

The group spent much of their time based in University Birmingham Sport’s Sport Performance Centre, led by Head of Performance & Coaching Alex Taylor and supported by Head of Strength & Conditioning Darran Fowler. The team is based in the University’s new £55 million Sport & Fitness Centre, which opened only last week.

Put together by SAI, the group’s studies in Birmingham are the first to follow last year’s formal agreement. The Indian Government has highlighted the importance of sport to the nation and is looking to invest in boosting India’s sporting performance through SAI.

Birmingham’s collaboration with SAI began in 2012 through the work of staff in its School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences in 2012 and discussions held by Dr Martin Toms with the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and SAI about how the University could help the country’s athletes boost their performance.

Professor Janice Thompson, Head of School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences said: “The University of Birmingham has a world Top 5 research department in the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences and leading applied expertise in sports performance in University Birmingham Sport.

“The synergy between research and applied expertise gives this programme its distinctive edge, which is so valuable to our visitors and SAI. It’s wonderful to continue working with India’s best coaches. We look forward to welcoming many more of the country’s sports leaders to Birmingham and helping Indian athletes realise their full potential in future sporting events.”

Last year’s Rio Olympics saw Birmingham 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 Brazil.

For more information, 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.