Dronacharya awardee Bhatia plans to open academy to groom young talent

Seasoned athletics coach JS Bhatia wants to open his own academy to keep his love of coaching alive even after retirement from Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Talking to The Indian Express soon after receiving the Dronacharya Award for lifetime achievement, Bhatia, 57, said, "I know it is a top honour in the country for coaches and it is a source of encouragement. But I have still a lot more to do. I plan to open an Academy and prepare the young talent for the Olympics. Though during India camps I got to train athletes like Sudha Singh, Gulab Chand, Bahadur Prasad, Jyothirmoyee Sikdar and Shiny Wilson and had an important role to play in PT Usha's comeback, but I want to look for young children and train them after a couple of years. My junior trainees include Suresh Kumar and Inderjeet Patel. They have a lot of potential. I know that there is no paucity of talent in India and if trained from a young age then India's future will be bright at the Olympics."

Talking of his plans further, Bhatia who currently looks after coaching of middle and long distance athletes, said, "Though I am posted at STC Lucknow but I plan to start the Academy at Ranikhet or Nainital as high altitude training is important for long distance athletes. There are still over two years left for my retirement but I have made up my mind that the academy which I would establish could be small and simple but I would definitely set-up one. Coaching is my passion and I intend to continue with it all my life."

Bhatia hopes that his family will continue to support him in his endeavour to groom young talent too. "I have been coaching for the past 34 years. My 90 year-old-mother Rawal Kaur, my wife Balwinder Kaur and my two daughters Prabdeep and Guneet never complained that I was not able to give much time to the family and remained away from the family for months altogether. They have never complained and I am banking on this attitude of theirs for the success of my future academy."

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