Sporting excellence is best built on a good foundation of education. This was the essence of the conversation when cricketer Kaunain Abbas, badminton player Shikha Gautam, tennis pro Adil Kalyanpur and the Sports Director of Jain College and Director of Sports School, Dr. UV Sankar, broached the subject of blending education with sports.
‘’Education keeps you afloat till you die. I was not much into cricket till I got to college. Then I realised that I was good at it,” said the 30-year-old Karnataka cricketer, Kaunain, who made his Ranji debut at 26, and now promises to go on and get a doctorate degree.
Never give up
Dr. Sankar, having played the role of a mentor for many including Kaunain, drove home the point of ‘’never giving up’’ and said that education helps in stabilising the thoughts of sports persons. He recalled how he had quit sports early in his career, but equipped himself with all the knowledge to help sports persons navigate their careers alongside education.
‘’You should give professional athletes the confidence, and point to the importance of time management. They need not fear academics,” he remarked.
Adil, whose parents and sister are all doctors, said that education was a must for him, even though there was no emphasis on getting high marks.
“It is a myth that sportspersons don’t have time for education. If you are keen, you can find your way,” said Adil.
Shikha recalled how her parents shifted from Nashik to Bengaluru to help her train at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy. “Badminton and training take the whole day. But I study before the exams and it can go up to 2 a.m.,” she said.
Giving the example of the Rafael Nadal Academy in Spain, where he trained for three years, Adil said that the class room was just 10 metres away. “’It is ideal to have a sports school and on demand exams. Sports itself is great education, in the school of life”, he said.