We are witnessing several youngsters creating history at the prestigious 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in various disciplines as India claimed 25 medals at the end of day 5 i.e. September 28.
Young Indian athletes have won medals in shooting, equestrian, and rowing in the first week of the multi-sporting event. A lot of top Indian athletes are going to be in action in the coming days and the nation expects a rich medal haul from them.
One of the biggest reasons to celebrate the achievement of these athletes in the Asiad is that they are going to inspire an entire generation to pick up a sport in their daily routine and aspire to become future sporting stars.
There has been a major shift in the attitude of parents, as well as schools and colleges, to provide the best sporting infrastructure for the kids at an early age. The identification of talent at an early age and nurturing such potential stars of tomorrow is very important and institutions are getting aware with every passing day.
In an interaction with MyKhel , Mr Sahil Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO, Rishihood University – instituted in Sonipat, Haryana in 2020 – highlights how his varsity is imparting quality sports education to its students to help the government realise its dream of transforming India into a sporting powerhouse. Here are the excerpts:
Q: How does Rishihood University impart quality education to its students with sports?
Ans: Delivering top-notch sports education demands three fundamental elements: skilled coaches, excellent infrastructure, and a sports-oriented culture. At Rishihood, we have meticulously developed our sports infrastructure. We boast outstanding coaches across various sports disciplines.
Furthermore, we remain unwavering in our commitment to providing high-quality sports equipment, while also actively fostering a sports-centric culture within our student community. This concerted effort aims to ignite a genuine passion for such activities.
Q: How does Rishihood University encourage more student participation in sports, especially under/less-appreciated sports like squash or hockey?
Ans: We actively promote sports participation, particularly in underrepresented disciplines. During student selection, we ensure that they exhibit a penchant for sports. Subsequently, we designed the timetable to accommodate daily sporting activities. Our residential campus further grants us ample time, allowing students to engage in sports more extensively than traditional colleges.
Q: How much importance does Rishihood University give to sports in its curriculum and what is the motivation behind doing so?
Ans: We stand among the select universities that have integrated sports as a mandatory component of our curriculum. This decision stems from our belief that physical fitness contributes not only to mental resilience but also to overall happiness, well-being, and professional success. Our drive to enforce this integration arises from our identity as a leadership institution, as the benefits of sports closely resonate with the qualities we seek in a leader.
Q: Do you feel that more and more universities should make sports mandatory in their curriculum and if so, why?
Ans: We firmly advocate for more universities to adopt sports as an obligatory aspect of their curriculum. If you’ve come across Mr. Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign as a presidential candidate in the US, you’ll notice his promotion of physical fitness as a crucial part of universities and trends.
Observing professions that demand rigorous activity underscores the vital role of fitness. Additionally, the leadership skills honed through sports-such as teamwork, decision-making, coordination, and time management-are widely acknowledged.
Hence, we strongly advocate for the inclusion of sports as a mandatory curriculum element. While it’s inherently easier for residential campuses, we believe non-residential institutions can also create space for sports.
Perhaps, like an audit course such as Anandam, allocating an hour in the evening for students to engage in sports activities on campus. This approach, akin to what we’ve implemented at Rishihood, could foster a conducive environment for sports engagement.
Q: Have you witnessed a drop in physical activity of students at your university post-Covid-19 pandemic? If yes, then how is the University combating it?
Ans: Given that we commenced the post-COVID-19 period, we don’t have a direct comparison between sports activities before and after the pandemic. However, we’ve observed a general decline in outdoor activities due to increased access to digital technologies.
In response, we proactively offer alternatives, leading to heightened student engagement. Remarkably, our students derive greater enjoyment from these alternatives compared to digital games.
Q: How important is maintaining a healthy mix of sports and education for healthy development and holistic well-being in a student’s life?
Ans: Consistent physical activity can contribute to increased dopamine production in the brain, the body’s innate ‘feel-good’ chemical, promoting an uplifted mood in your child. Teamwork plays a pivotal role – engaging in sports, particularly team sports, aids your child in socializing and understanding the significance of collaborative efforts.
Q: Do you have any sports quota for admissions and if so, how much?
Ans: We don’t have a separate quota for sports but we encourage students who are active in sports by providing them access to scholarships.
Q: Which sport is the most popular at Rishihood University and the reason for the same?
Ans: Among the popular sports, swimming and badminton take the lead. Our state-of-the-art facilities cater to a wide range of sports and offer indoor accessibility throughout the day. Additionally, our provision of seasoned coaches contributes to the active engagement in these sports, making them the prominent choices.
Q: What are the common myths of parents while introducing their wards to less-appreciated sports? How do you bust it?
Ans: Parents usually seek the finest career opportunities for their children, which is why in lesser-known sports, career options might be limited. This naturally raises concerns among parents to motivate and support their children.
Thus, the key lies in identifying the child’s genuine interests and suitability, paving the way for potential gold medalists and content individuals who pursue their passions. We also emphasize the significance of sports for health and enlighten them about diverse career avenues within the realm of sports.
Q: Good coaches make good athletes. How do you hire quality coaches?
Ans: We pride ourselves on the presence of high-quality coaches on our campus. These coaches are not only hired and supported but are also provided with excellent infrastructural resources and a conducive working environment.
Our commitment extends beyond remuneration, ensuring they are perceived as equals rather than secondary to the academic faculty. In many educational institutions, sports personnel are often relegated to a secondary role, but that’s not the case here.
Our sports team actively engages with students and garners their admiration. By offering competitive compensation, top-notch infrastructure, and a positive working environment, we attract and retain the caliber of coaches who uphold our standards.