Australia's swimming sensation Stephanie Rice claimed that she is planning to set up a swimming academy in India to extract future Olympic medallists from the country. At 20, Rice attained three gold medals in 2008 Beijing Olympics. Six years later, she called it quits from the sport. Beyond her television assignments and other promotional activities, she stated her ultimate goal is to establish a swimming academy in India and groom Olympic medal winners.
Rice emphasised, “I am really working on it. I have had a number of opportunities to do that but it has not materialised so far for want of right time or right infrastructure. I am quite passionate about India and I have spoken to quite a lot of people to start the academy. If India has to do well in the Olympics, the country will have to win medals in sports like swimming.”
On being asked if India lacks sporting culture, Rice pointed out, “It is not like that, India is fantastic in so many sports, say cricket or hockey. I don’t think that it is about lack of quality. India has a lot of talent and good infrastructure. The issue is someone who is running it needs to understand what is going on at top level. You need people who have done it before, great coaches and great support staff and they will have to be given at least four years. It is not that you will get medal after working with an athlete for just one year. So, if India wants to do well in 2024 Olympics, we need to start now,” she added.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega