Sports is Serious Business for theseTrainers who go on to Inspire Others

27th Nov, 2017

THANE:'Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose - it teaches you about life,' once said Billie Jean King, an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. Many youngsters have taken inspiration from this ideology and followed their passion for sports.

Deepak Londhe, a 42-year sports trainer, who has co-founded a training centre, a branch of which is in Thane, said, "My parents didn't know what long jump or triple jump was. They kept telling me to focus on studies so that I could be an engineer and earn well. For my first few state and national level competitions, we couldn't even afford to buy shoes and I had to play bare feet."

Hailing from a humble agrarian family in Nashik, Londhe often spent his school days practising various sports his parents did not understand whilst strolling in the vineyards where his parents worked.

The lanky lad with big dreams was unshakable as his hard work and dreams put him on top of the charts as state and national champion in long jump and athletics. His annual worth now is over Rs 20 lakh.

After training from the National Institute of Sports, Bangalore, Londhe decided to start a training centre to not only encourage children and adults, but also recruit his fellow sports players.

"While the main motivation to start this centre was to give youngsters the opportunities I didn't get, I decided to rope in state and national level sportsmen as trainers, who were jobless. Today we have 25 centres in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, and 11 others in other metropolitan cities in India," said Londhe, who co-founded the Striders Training Centre with his fellow sportsperson Praful Uchil in 2006.

City-based famed 43-year-old sports trainer Nagesh Shetty has been instrumental in launching many Indian sportspersons, including Sudha Singh and Lalita Babar. Shetty coaches the Indian railway team and also guides hundreds of Thaneites to train for marathons in a scientific way.

"I started running at the age of 10 and realised that sports was the only career for me. I went on to win the 800mts race at the 1998-99 Open National and Interstate Championship," said Shetty.

With the number of fitness conscious citizens on the rise, experts in this field assert that it is high time more facilities were created for marathon and sports trainers in the city.

"I have been working in the field of sports training for the past 20 years and have seen an exceptional growth in the number of children, youngsters as well as adults coming for fitness training. While most of them come to participate in marathons, many others come for a healthy lifestyle," said Vijay Alva, founder of the VAFA Academy at Shivaji Park.


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