India has produced world-class sportspersons such as Sachin Tendulkar, Leander Paes, Saina Nehwal, Abhinav Bindra, and Vishwanathan Anand. In spite of this, the trend still favours students who show more interest in studying and becoming lawyers and engineers. Parents and even professors, to a certain extent, give top priority to classroom and textbook knowledge.
Sports, the lessons it teaches, and real-life learnings it imparts are almost always secondary. There are a few colleges in India though, who recognise and honour the desire of young students to pursue sports professionally by giving opportunities and scholarships.
1. SRM University, Tamil Nadu
Keeping the tradition alive, the SRM University awarded sports scholarships to 108 students in the year 2014. These students are spread across engineering, technology, management, science and humanities etc. In a year the university awards scholarships worth 7 crores for seniors and juniors. The selection criteria is fair trials conducted across various sports such as Cricket, Basketball, Volley ball, Football, Hockey, Badminton, Tennis, Table Tennis and Chess. These are judged by experts from inside and outside the university. The icing on the cake every year is the encouraging speech and admit cards distributed to the awardees by the authorities. Must say, it indeed is a top notch option if you are keen to build a career as a sports person.
2. Rizvi College, Mumbai
According to the Physical Education professor, Mr. Sonawane, “Rizvi College takes great pride in offering sports scholarships.” Based in Mumbai, the college offers aid across various sports disciplines. Students applying through the sports quota have to go through strict trials and the ones who pass the challenge are selected. “We understand the importance of sports and always encourage our students to pursue it professionally,” added Mr. Sonawane.
3. Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Netaji Subhas National Institute Of Sports (NSNIS)
This is another institute that offers sports scholarships with an aim to promote sports in the country. Situated in Patiala, they have high-end facilities for sports training complementing the high levels of academic programmes too. They offer state level scholarship, national level scholarship, scholarships for college/university students and special scholarships for women. Their purpose is to recognize and groom talented sportsperson from all walks and strata of life. They also have facilities for training the coaches. The selection criteria is strictly based on merit and performance.
4. TNEA and Anna University, Tamil Nadu
TNEA or Tamil Nadu Engineering Admission has increased the number of sports quota seats from 100 to 500 in 2014. 12 seats will be with Anna University and the remaining 488 will be with Anna University of Technologies, Govt. aided and private engineering colleges. They offer and teach as many as 51 different sporting disciplines, right from Athletics to Swimming and everything else. The purpose of the scheme is to recognize the talented students and hence give marks based only on merit and achievements.
5. Delhi University
The DU, as it is more popularly known, is also one of the universities in India awarding admissions through sports quota. Like most other colleges, they too have two types of admissions; a direct admission is given to those students who have represented the country in certain competitions and the second one by sports trials. They need to clear 2 out of the 3 tests (strength, endurance and speed) to make the cut.
6. St.Stephen’s College, Delhi
St. Stephen’s, which is part of DU, awards scholarships and other financial aids to students on the basis of need-cum-merit. In sports category these scholarships are spread over 15 disciplines. All students applying through the sports quota have to clear a fitness test and the mandatory trials.