China's Olympic programme was one of the most closely guarded secrets in the sporting world — one that propelled the Oriental country past the United States at the 2008 Beijing Games.
But now the country has agreed to drop the iron curtain and let India get a peek into their coaching programme, which has seen their athletes conquer new frontiers in the world of sport.
By the end of this year, Indian coaches will travel to the Beijing Sports University, to 'imbibe' the Chinese winning formula and put it to use in Indian conditions. "It is a positive development for Indian sport. China is a sporting powerhouse and a coaching programme there will help Indian coaches perform better and produce more Olympic medallists," said Sports Authority of India (SAI) secretary, Gopal Krishna.The Beijing Sports University runs a special programme to train China's elite coaches and also looks after the training of top athletes. "We regularly send coaches to Cuba and Hungary and it has started paying dividends. Now, China has been included on the list and I hope it will further improve our performance," added Krishna.
Initially, the coaches will go on a four-week stint and depending upon the success of the pilot project, the future course of the coaching programme will be decided. "Our (SAI) officers had gone to Beijing last month to work on the proposal of sending the coaches to China. The university has given us written confirmation to train our coaches," said a SAI official on condition of anonymity. "For the four-week pilot project, they have allowed us to send any number of coaches - between 20 to 80. The course will be conducted with a help of interpreters.
"All the paperwork has been completed and now the proposal will be presented to the sports minister for clearance and budgetary approval. After that, we will decide on the number of coaches we will be sending to Beijing. The process will take four months," said the official.
The SAI is also planning to take China's help to train its sports scientists. "Our officers have also met scientists at the China Sports Science Institute and they have agreed in principal to train our sports scientists. But a written confirmation is awaited," said the SAI official.
At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, China was placed 11th with 28 medals. But 20 years later, in Beijing, they had a whopping 100 medals in their kitty, including 51 gold.
Certainly, the way to go for India!