Friday, December 4, 2015

Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy: Breeding ground for new talents

This piece was published in Sportskeeda
There are many sports academies, which are doing their bit quietly away from the public limelight in churning out new talents, who can serve the country with distinction. Punjab-based Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy is one of them – it has been ‘doing a lot’ to ensure talented youngsters get a ‘platform’ to hone their skills and make it big.

Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy is the brainchild of NRI twins – Baldev Sidhu and Ajmer Sidhu, whose association with sports for many years during their stay first in England, and later Canada, subsequently paved the way for the setting of the academy in Chakar, a nondescript hamlet in the Ludhiana district of Punjab. “We (both me and Ajmer) went to England in 1967 when we were fourteen and in 1980 I went to Canada. Ajmer joined me there in 1986. We were encouraged by our parents to be in sports from an early age and have been in sports for the last 55 years,” says Baldev Sidhu, who is the patron of the academy.
Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy made a humble beginning – starting with just ten kids in 2006 but now has more than three hundred children getting trained in sports such as boxing, football and athletics. “The idea was to keep the kids interested in sports while keeping them away from the negative side of life such as drugs and violence. We are focusing on three sports and have 6 paid coaches – three for boxing and three for football,” Baldev throws light on the academy.

Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy shot into prominence when Mandeep Kaur won the world junior boxing crown earlier this year. Baldev agrees her triumph has catapulted the academy into the spotlight. “Yes, Mandeep winning the world junior championship title has definitely raised the interest in and around our village so much so that our membership has increased by 40%. Mandeep’s medal winning performance has put the Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy on the world map. Since the introduction of the academy the village has become much more health conscious while producing many boxers and footballers at the national and international level,” Baldev quips with a tinge of pride.

There is little doubt that Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy will continue to produce talents, who will do the country proud - Mandeep Kaur is only a beginning.
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