Delhi Sports School takes off with first batch

- February 20, 2024
| By : Yusra Nazim |

As many as 172 athletes are currently receiving training in 10 Olympic discipline at the Delhi government-run facility; it hopes to take in 200 students in the next academic year

FOR POOL BABIES: The swimming pool was inaugurated on February 8. It will be used by athletes of all sports

The first batch of the Delhi Sports School (DSS), an initiative of the Delhi government to produce athletes for the future, is about to complete its academic year while the process to take in a fresh batch has already begun. 

From this year, the authorities are introducing lateral entry for students which allows those who haven’t cleared the entrance exam to get admitted through medal-winning performances in sports.  

The school, located at Ludlow Castle in Civil Lines, catered to students from class 6 to 9 in the 2023-24 session but is planning to open its doors to students for class 11 from the 2025-26 session. 

“We are planning to expand the school. From the 2025-26 session, we are going to invite applications for class 11 too. We will also be setting up camps in other states of India,” said Sanjeet Sangwan, a senior official with the sports school. 

“Last year, Talent Scouting Camps were held in Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh. We also focussed on states that have been left behind for years such as Northeastern states of Manipur and Meghalaya. However, the plan couldn’t materialise due to unrest in Manipur and inability to get the only synthetic track in Meghalaya.”

The Delhi Sports School is part of the Delhi government’s ‘Schools of Specialised Excellence’ programme, providing a curriculum focussed on sports. 

It caters to students from grades six to 12 and is affiliated with the Delhi Board of School Education (DBSE).

As many as 172 athletes are currently receiving training in 10 Olympic disciplines, and all facilities are provided to them without any charge. The school hopes to take in 200 students for the 2024-25 academic year. The admission process for the upcoming batch began in early January this year.

The performance of the first batch has been commendable. 

“The students of Delhi Sports School participated in eight sports in the ongoing academic year and brought 19 medals in Nationals and 88 medals in Delhi state championships. Badminton and tennis have produced the maximum number of medals,” confirmed Sangwan.  

Among those that shone, Sandhya won gold in table tennis (SGFI Nationals in the under-17 category), Chesta secured gold in boxing in the same age group. In badminton, Divyansh Rawat and Deepanshu both achieved gold medals (SGFI Nationals badminton doubles).

HOME FOR TALENT: The Delhi Sports School building accommodates 172 trainees

Chesta shared her experience at Delhi Sports School with Patriot stating, “Before joining DSS, I hadn’t won any medals in state championships, but now I’ve become both a state and national champion. I am thankful to the entire DSS team for their excellent coaching, guidance, and the facilities they provide.”

Divyanshu Rawat too talked of the benefits of joining DSS, stating, “I have won two medals, gold and bronze since joining DSS. Here, we receive the best coaching, diet, and other facilities. The school’s coaching and facilities help us perform better in both sports and academics.”

The trainees could not participate in wrestling and athletics due to administrative problems. Majority of the wrestling trainees are from Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra.  

Facilities getting unveiled

The all-weather swimming pool at the school was inaugurated by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on February 8. It is accessible to all students. Additionally, swimming has been made compulsory for every student at the school.

“We worked on the swimming pool first because swimming plays a pivotal role in a sports person’s life. It develops muscle, can heal injuries fast and bring discipline,” added Sangwan. 

Apart from the swimming pool, the school already has full-fledged facilities for weightlifting, table tennis and boxing.  The hall for wrestling will also be completed within a month while boxing facilities will be expanded. As of now, trainees do one session of boxing in the school and the other in a facility outside. 

A shooting range of 25 metres is also under construction. This will be the second shooting range in Delhi after the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges in Tughlakabad. 

Practice sessions

There are morning and evening practice sessions. The first session begins at 6 am and it is in-house, which means that the students train inside the school premises. 

The evening session, from 6 pm to 9 pm, involves outdoor visit. There are still some facilities — for tennis, archery and athletics — that are not available in the school due to limited space. The students have to go outside for these activities. 

PING PONG: Table tennis is one of the 10 sports at the school located in North Delhi

At least three more such schools will be opened in the near future under the aegis of Delhi Sports University. 

“Since we cannot open such a school in each of the 29 zones, we are planning to provide basic facilities in a school or a park in each of the zones so that more students can take up sports,” said Sangwan. 

One of the features of the school is the equal ratio of boys and girls. Girls are performing well, not just in sports, but also in academics and extra-curricular activities like dance, drawing among others. 

Academic classes are designed to be very light as per the requirement of sports students, and not meant to burden them much. 

“We are raising sportspersons with a sense of how things work around, how to present themselves to the world without depending on anyone. We don’t want them to feel awkward when travelling around the world so we are training them accordingly,” elaborated Sangwan.

Needless to say that the syllabus is sports-centric. 

“But we want them to have options as well, be it in science or humanities. There are other options in sports as well like sports physiotherapy, sports equipment manufacturing, MBA in sports, sports science among other fields. We are training them for these as well besides a career in sports of 11 to 13 years.”

The upcoming Delhi Sports University will also have these subjects. 

Last week Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal interacted with students and inquired about the facilities.

Both Kejriwal and Minister of Education Atishi have been closely involved in the setting up of the school.

Atishi had, last year, explained the purpose behind the establishment of this school, “With this school, the Kejriwal government will support and develop young sports talent, enabling them to compete in global events by offering top-notch facilities. The CM envisions transforming Delhi into country’s sports capital. Delhi Sports School and the upcoming Delhi Sports University will be pivotal in achieving this goal.”

The Chief Minister had last month said, “A Delhi Sports University is also slated to come up in about three years at Mundka on around 80 acres of land. As many as 2,500 students are likely to be trained in 20 Olympic sports [in the university].”