Indian athletes hone off-field skills at workshop

Athletes like weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, sprinter Hima Das and heptathlete Swapna Barman participated in the workshop

Elite Indian athletes under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, including weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, sprinter Hima Das and heptathlete Swapna Barman, took part in an ‘Athlete Education Workshop’ to learn about important off-field lessons here on March 28.

The workshop, conducted by Sports Authority of India (SAI), touched upon some pertinent non-sporting issues that players have to deal with during the course of their career.

The workshop was conducted keeping in mind that many of the Indian athletes are very young and need guidance on how to draw up endorsement contracts with corporate houses, how to conduct themselves in public forums and how to interact with international media after competitions, said a SAI media release said.

Experts from the fields of law, soft skills training, media and anti-doping spoke to athletes in a three-hour session, which was attended by 100 athletes and coaches.

A session on anti-doping was also included in the workshop to brief these star athletes on the ill-effects of banned drugs on their health and career.

“This is the second workshop of the series and we are happy with the positive response that we have got from athletes. We will take these workshops to other SAI centers as well,” said Neelam Kapur, director general, SAI.

The sessions were conducted by media expert Kamesh Srinivasan, legal expert Shweta Gupta, skills training expert Vipin Sarin and PSM Chandran from NADA.

“I enjoyed all the sessions and I learnt a lot about things that I did not even know about. I have picked up a few tips on how to behave in a public forum in the skills workshop and would like to use that,” weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga sad.

Hima, who has already signed a few brand endorsements, said, “The contracts we get are so long, I never read them. But today, I learnt which parts of the contract are absolutely essential for an athlete to be aware of. I will check those parts in all my upcoming contracts.”