July 19, 2017

Australian College of Sport ties up with Pursuit to boost Indian sporting talent

Earlier this year, Indian basketball received a pleasant surprise: four of our top players - Amjyot Singh, Amritpal Singh, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, and Yadwinder Singh - were invited to Melbourne, Australia to take part in the country's National Basketball League (NBL) Draft Combine. The four players made quite a positive impact with the coaches and scouts from the NBL squads and their performances led to an almost instantaneous reaction: Amritpal was given a chance to take part in the Sydney Kings rookie camp and preseason, while Bhriguvanshi became the first Indian to be signed to an NBL contract, by the Adelaide 36ers.

Photo via: Australian College of Sport
The growing Indo-Australian sports (and particularly, basketball) connection hasn't just been conjured out of thin air. In the background, Indian sports management company Pursuit have been working hard as the mediums between the athletes and their athletic destinations.

Now, Pursuit takes another major step forward in their growing relationship with Australia: On Wednesday, the Australian College of Sport (ACS) formally announced that they have entered a tie-up with Pursuit to act as the ambassador for ACS in India and the rest of the Indian subcontinent. Pursuit will represent ACS for the purpose of scouting and recruiting student athletes to be admitted to the ACS Programme across basketball, football, cricket, badminton, swimming and golf. This tie-up is intended to facilitate India’s most talented athletes to train and study in ACS’s world class facilities in Australia.

The Australian College of Sport was established in Adelaide, Australia in November 2006, and focuses on individualized athlete development combined with formal education to prepare athletes for a professional playing career. In 2011, ACS launched its golfing programme in Melbourne and in 2015, expanded its basketball programme and opened a second campus in Sydney.

This tie-up is a direct result of the Australian Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull’s visit to India in April 2017, when the Indian and Australian Governments signed several MoUs, including one on sports. This MoU endeavours to connect Australia’s global reputation for sports excellence and expertise with India’s ambition to improve its sports administration and infrastructure.

“This tie-up is significant as it provides another pathway to young Indian athletes to develop their craft in a world-class environment," said Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Director of Pursuit. "What’s more, the classroom education that ACS offers on sports development and management creates an opportunity for the student-athlete to build a career in the global sports industry."

“Through this tie-up, we aim to get exposed to the right pool of talent in India and provide the right platform to aspiring athletes in India that are willing to compete professionally and exploring the sporting industry," said Stuart Roberts, the CEO of ACS. "Our High Performance Training Curriculum enables the athlete to achieve superior results."

From an Indian perspective, this tie-up is intended to address the lack of coaching and training facilities in the country, allowing India’s most talented athletes to train and study in Australia’s world class facilities. The focus is on finding players in the age group of 17 to 22, where player development is crucial. Besides honing of pro athletes, ACS also delivers vocational education through its degree pathways with top tier Australian Universities such as Deakin University, University of South Australia and Torrens University.

Shankar added that the programme in ACS should increase the future scope for Indian players to have an opportunity to play in Australia. "Doors are opening up for Indian players now," said Shankar. "Australians already know that Indians can play sport because we compete with them in cricket. After Amritpal, they will be looking at Indian athletes as viable options for basketball, too."

Recently, Pursuit also finalised a deal with the IMG Academy in the USA for a different programme to promote Indian athletes. "Both of these things are just the beginning stage," said Shankar. "We need to do a lot more, we need to tie up with more colleges and academies and with the right kind of people. The point is that kids should have multiple options. Eventually they should have options in different parts of the world with different types of affordability. World class training is important. A course like ACS which comes with a sports development programme can be a great starting point."

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