Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Army Sports Institute (ASI) Pune has been awarded the “ Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2020” by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India.

Since its inception, the institute has enabled participation of 20 sportsmen in Olympics; 12 sportsmen have already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (rescheduled to 2021) with more hoped to qualify. The Institute has won six Youth Olympic Medals, 19 medals in Asian Games and 18 medals in Commonwealth Games, a related press release dated August 23, 2020, issued by the PRO (Defence) said.

According to it, in the last three years, sportsmen trained at ASI have won 450 international and 1118 national medals with a number of firsts and records. In the last three editions of Khelo India, the sportsmen won 125 medals in five disciplines.

Army Sports Institute, Pune (Photo: PRO [Defence])

ASI was raised as part of the Indian Army’s “ Mission Olympics” program on July 1, 2001. “ The aim was to train the vast reservoir of talent in the army in seven selected disciplines -archery, athletics, boxing, diving, fencing, weightlifting and wrestling – with the aim of winning medals at the Olympics. The institute draws its sportsmen from the army as well as from young raw and proven talent in ` Boys Sports Companies’ (8-14 years age),’’ the release said. These sportsmen are supported by a team of foreign and Indian coaches, physical conditioners and specialists in sports medicine, physiology, psychology, bio-mechanics, statistics and nutrition.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)