The Sports Authority of India on Wednesday said 46 top athletes will get direct entry for coaching diploma courses at the National Institute of Sport, Patiala in a proposed revamp of the institute’s admission policy which will also ensure increased seats and an online exam system.

The number of seats will be increased from 566 to 725 in the redrawn admission process, which has been approved by the NIS academic council and has been thrown open for feedback from the stakeholders.

“It has been proposed that eminent athletes who have either participated in the Olympics or won medals in world championship or gold medal in Asian/ Commonwealth Games will be given direct admission to the course, without any written test or interview,” the SAI said.

Changing the qualification criteria, the SAI said matriculation would be enough to apply, a drastic change from the previous rules which required at least completion of graduation for anyone to be eligible.

“For the first time the entrance exam for the course has been made online, and will not be held manually. The number of seats have also been increased from 566 to 725, in keeping with the restructuring of various sporting disciplines & need of the country,” a SAI release stated.

This has been done to tap the best available talent with more stress on coaching acumen than academic degree.

The minimum age of entry for coaching degree is now 21 years instead of earlier 23 as per notification issued by NIS. The major modification is direct admission to sportspersons.

“This first-of-its-kind direct inclusion of eminent athletes has been proposed in order to encourage eminent athletes for coming into the field of sports coaching. There are 46 seats reserved for eminent athletes [men and women] in 23 sporting disciplines.

“In case of more than one application in one discipline, a system has been put in place, based on sports achievements, to choose the final candidate,” the SAI explained.

The other focus will be on the understanding of sports and acumen for coaching rather than degrees.

“Three new parameters, namely logical reasoning and coaching aptitude, communication and basic computer knowledge have been added to the 100-mark written paper.”

The coaches need to be able to communicate with athletes, parents, administrators and other stakeholders with ease and also adapt to the “digital-first approach taking over the country”.

Matriculation as minimum academic criteria is aimed at making the courses more inclusive with an aim to ensure that best athletes join as coaches, the marks for educational qualification has been reduced.

The marks for sporting achievements have been enhanced from 10 to 20 in a bid to attract athletes who have participated and excelled in more sporting events.

There has been an inclusion of ‘Minimum Physical Standard’ for the first time to ensure a fitter coaching cadre. This will replace the 20 marks allotted to a practical test in the old system.

Two-time participation in All India University Games, which was mandatory earlier, would no longer be a compulsory requirement.

“Now candidates who have participated only once, either in the All India University Games or Khelo India University Games or Senior National Championship will be eligible to apply,” it said.

“Besides, participation in Khelo India School Games, Youth Games and University Games twice, has been added to encourage Khelo India athletes, especially those in indigenous sports,” it added.

To ensure participation of athletes from the north east, competitions like Inter-Service, Inter-Railways Championships and Police Games have also been included.

With PTI Inputs