Veteran SA Coach Douglas Eager, Olympian Sandeep Sejwal To Lead Odisha JSW Swimming High Performance Centre
Bhubaneswar: With the aim of creating structured athlete development pathways for the sport of swimming in the state and helping Indian athletes achieve success at the global level, the JSW Group on Thursday announced the appointments of seasoned South African Swim Coach Douglas Eager and Olympian and Asian Games medalist Sandeep Sejwal to lead the Odisha JSW Swimming High Performance Centre (OJSHPC) based out of the Kalinga Stadium here.
A unique partnership between the state and JSW has seen the conglomerate lead the technical aspects of the swim program in Odisha and establish best practices to offer coaching programs aimed at developing Indian swimmers capable of achieving FINA ‘A’ Qualification times for World Championships and the Olympics in 8-12 years. A total of 34 swimmers have already been identified as part of the HPC since its inception.
Eager brings over two decades of coaching experience having trained top international swimmers including Olympic and Commonwealth Games medalist Lyndon Ferns.
“I am extremely excited about the swimming program in Bhubaneswar where we are developing swimmers from grassroots beginners to elite swimmers. With the coaching staff and facilities at our disposal, I am convinced that we will be producing national and international champions in the not too distant future,” he said.
After retiring from competitive swimming, Sejwal, an Arjuna awardee and 13-time national champion, took to full-time coaching and has trained some of the country’s top swimmers including Kenisha Gupta, Aanya Wala, Srish Maulik among several others.
Expressing his excitement on taking up the new role, Sejwal said, “Having represented India in the pool at the international level, I am really looking forward to this new challenge of developing the next generation of Indian swimmers. It’s fantastic to see the Odisha Government and the JSW Group come together with such a comprehensive strategy for the growth of swimming in India, and I am confident that a structured program such as this will do wonders for the sport in our country.”
The OJSHPC will be part of a network of HPCs being set up under the umbrella of the Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS), India’s first privately-funded High Performance Centre established by JSW and furthers the Group’s commitment to the state of Odisha and the holistic growth and development of Olympic disciplines in the country.
Speaking about the program, R. Vineel Krishna, Sports Secretary, Odisha, said, “Swimming is amongst a priority sports for us and we aim to promote it both as a sport and also as an important life skill, right from grassroots to elite. We are very happy the way JSW has engaged experts to take the sport of Swimming to a greater level, in Odisha. The HPC trainees are already making their mark at different competitions and we are confident our unique partnership with JSW will be instrumental in creating champions of tomorrow.”
Besides the HPC, JSW is also focusing efforts on a statewide Grassroots Program through a network of 8 training centres across Odisha. The focus at these centres is a ‘Learn to Swim’ program aimed at getting more children to take up swimming as a life skill and create a performance pathway for swimmers in the state. A Coach Development initiative is also being put in place for continuous professional development of state coaches through certifications and workshops with international swim coaches.
The program further expands the network of training centres being developed by the JSW Group under the Inspire Institute of Sport High Performance network. Highlighting the importance of the Odisha program, Rushdee Warley, CEO of IIS said, “The JSW-Odisha Swimming HPC is a great model of active partnership between a state government and the private sector. We are taking learnings from the world class daily training environment for the elite youth levels we’ve set up at the IIS, and adding a grassroots layer of swimming as a life-skill, which will help broad base the sport and increase its acceptance among the youth.
With swimming’s popularity, and the significant number of medals on offer at major events, this program will also play a role in furthering the JSW Group’s commitment to building India’s competitiveness on the global sporting stage in the not-too-distant future.”