CHENNAI: In a first of its kind initiative, International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF), with Athletic Federation of India (AFI), conducted its Coaches Education and Certification System (CECS) Level 1 Course in Chennai and Ranchi from May 2 to 13.
"A total of 24 candidates attended the 12-day crash course in Chennai. It will also be conducted in Patiala, Bhopal, Guwahati and Himachal Pradesh in 2018. IAAF has given us 10 courses this year," AFI secretary CK Valson said on Sunday. "We aim to have it across India. But the only problem here is we can have only 24 candidates per course since we have only two lecturers in each centre."
"Around 240 candidates applied for the May batch. We have the second leg coming up in September. The registration fee will be Rs 25,000 which will include their accommodation and food expenses. Former Olympians and international athletes will be given priority while selecting applicants."
High jumpers Sahana Kumari and Nallusamy Annavi also underwent training at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Kumari felt that with IAAF certification, the standard of coaching has also gone up. The course has both practical and theory parts.
"We, as former athletes, know how everything is done practically. But here, we got to understand what is the basis for all these events. The quality of content being taught is also high. This is a huge move by AFI to encourage people to take up coaching. Unlike spending a year to undergo level one of the coaching course in National Institute of Sports (NIS), this is a more viable option for those planning to take up coaching as a career since it consumes less time. In 2015 I attended Level 1 course in NIS which was for a one-year period."
"But I left after three months because they didn't allow me to participate in international events as an athlete. But this doesn't come with such restraints as it is conducted for only 12 days. We can attend tournaments as athletes and still work as a coach," said Kumari. "The aim of such initiative was to produce more coaches in India and through that, produce more quality athletes. AFI is also keen to organise a Level 2 course in the coming years. Currently, the athlete to coach ratio is 100:1. It's not possible for a coach to generate 100 quality athletes."
"And in India, we see only top international athletes becoming coaches. This is because if you want to be a coach in NIS, you have to sacrifice your job and dedicate everything to training for one year at the beginners level. So this is preferred over that," Valson explained. "This programme also allows us to give former India athletes a chance to train next generation. If PT Usha or Anju Bobby George set their feet in coaching it's a pride for us."