SPORT

Impressed with talent in Karnataka: Nisha

Nisha Millet.M.A. Sriram  

Nisha Millet, 36, Olympian and Arjuna awardee and the first Indian female swimmer to qualify for the Olympics in Sydney 2000, spoke to The Hindu on the sidelines of the Karnataka state sub-junior and junior aquatics championships here on Sunday.

Excerpts:

How do you see the present talent of junior and sub-junior swimmers in Karnataka?

I am impressed with the performance of the boys in the State championships. Swimmers in the boys section (Group I to IV) have broken the state and national records, which is a good sign. In the girls section, the performance needs to improve. After a gap of 25 years, Sajini Shetty’s record has been broken by Rachana S.R. Rao (Group II girls section). She also won the 100m backstroke with a new national mark.

There are promising swimmers like Nina Venkatesh and Suvana C. Baskar (both from Dolphin Aquatics). They need to work hard to perform well at the national and international level.

What should they do to improve further?

They need to be more professional in their outlook. They need to get updated on the sport, do mental training and take part in more events abroad in the Asian and European circuits where competition will be tougher. The SFI and the government needs to get involved and send talented swimmers on exposure tours abroad often.

The Khelo India programme is a good concept and they have also started financially supporting talented sportspersons, which is positive. The Karnataka swimming Association has also announced that it will will give cash awards to state and national record breakers, which is good news.

About your academy?

I started the Nisha Millet Swimming Academy in Bengaluru in 2004. We have two main centres, one in Kennigston Pool, Ulsoor and one in Koramangala.

We have 10 other centres in city to cater to the needs of the public. It’s satisfying to be into coaching and to do what I love to do the most.

We are a team of 30 coaches and I head the senior and Sirish Reddy the junior sections. I also support the top swimmers from the academy with sponsorship from Speedo and upcoming juniors with Speedo kits.