Somdev Devvarman, former professional Indian tennis player has been roped in to lead a Centre of Excellence at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA).
The centre aims to provide coaching to budding players. The search has already begun for coaches, sports psychologist and physios who will work in coordination with each other at the Academy.
A comprehensive plan for the same has been submitted by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to the Sports Ministry for approval under the supervision of Devvarman, India's former number one singles player.
• Coaching would be provided according to the age group. A foreign coach would also be brought in.
• Qualified physios and sports psychologist will be hired for all round development of the players.
• A sports science centre is also being planned at the Academy.
• Overall, the Academy would be able to accommodate about 300 kids for coaching, among which at least 100 would be able to get accommodation there after relocating from their respective states.
• In monetary terms, the centre would require an annual budget of about Rs 20 Cr to sustain itself. The plan for the same is being chalked out by the Ministry.
Confirming Somdev’s inclusion in the project, AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee stated, “who can be better than Somdev to plan such a project. He is a Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist.”
However, the development of the centre raises doubt over the future of Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA)'s junior coaching program, which is one of the oldest in the country.
The programme involves over 20 coaches who have been working there for more than 20 years. Some of the coaches have been associated with the programme for almost three decades.
When asked about the future of DLTA junior coaching program, Chatterjee said, “we will discuss it when we come to it.”
About the Junior Programme
• The programme at present has 15 coaches.
• There are also few coaches who provide private coaching by paying a fee to DLTA for renting out courts.
• The number of students enrolled into the programme includes about 200.
• The students are required to pay Rs 3000 per month, which is a lot lesser than the amount charged by the private academies in Delhi that can be anything between Rs 10-50,000 per month.
• Besides this, around 150 government school children get free coaching at the centre.
With the coming of the new Centre of Excellence, it is unclear if the association’s old coaching programmes would continue or will they be asked to shift somewhere else.
According to a sports ministry official, the proposed Centre will require a minimum of 10 courts and DLTA has in total 14 courts including two clay courts.
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