CHENNAI: Be it Usain Bolt’s 100-metre world record or Virender Sehwag’s 300-run feat, sports biomechanics — the science of assessing the technique and performance of sportsmen/women — has played an integral role in both.
In India, such facilities, that help sportspersons fine-tune their skills and ergonomics in running or jumping, are maintained by well-funded private organisations. But Chennai is all set to get the country’s first full-fledged State-funded centre of excellence for sports biomechanics.
The Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University (TNPESU), located on the city’s outskirts, will be the first Indian university to have a completely State government-funded biomechanics lab with high-end devices like infrared cameras and motion-analysis software. It will be free of cost to students from all government schools, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), Sports Authority of India (SAI) and centres of excellence across Tamil Nadu but a nominal amount (Rs 300-500) will be collected from other individuals.
Officials from the Department of Youth Welfare and Sports Development (DYWSD) said that neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka can sign Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Tamil Nadu government for concessions.
“This one-stop shop facility would help not only established sportspersons but also upcoming young talent,” said P Rajini Kumar, of TNPESU, who designed the proposal.
DYWSD officials said that for the first time, baseline data will be created here for all kinds of sports so that individuals can achieve progress without much expenditure and risk of injuries.
“Most times, minor corrections in techniques like stride angle or foot contact time will help beginners correct and make podium finishes,” Kumar added.
Though the proposal was taken up in 2016, the State Planning Commission was sceptical about the availability of expertise in the field. To overcome this, a MoU was signed between TNPESU and Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University.
This MoU will pave the way for faculty exchange and joint research for development and maintenance. Study tours were also planned to New Zealand and Australia, countries that have implemented it successfully on a large scale.
Throwing more light on high-end equipment to be installed, T Radhakrishnan, TNPESU registrar, said that the multi-purpose building will have high definition and high frame rate cameras, radar speed guns and analysis software to assess distance, speed and acceleration parameters.
He added that force plates and electromyography will also be attached to measure various kinetic parameters like ground reaction force, fatigue produced in skeletal muscles.
“Operating these gadgets does not require much technical expertise as they are user-friendly,” Kumar added.
DYWSD officials said that it was likely that MoUs will be signed with professional league teams from Indian Premier League and Indian Super League in the future to generate adequate revenue for maintenance.