Published: 17th May 2017
Want to manage an IPL/EPL team? Head to Kerala's Sports Management and Research Institute and learn to become a perfect sports manager
Sports Management and Research Institute, Kochi, and Anju Bobby George tell us why the added advantage of a trained manager can help you in becoming a world class athlete
Sports promotion finds itself in the harrowing company of poverty alleviation and development of manufacturing sector in India - they get plenty of lip service, but hardly register any progress on the report card. Except for cricket, no other sport offers the players a shot at fame or chance to make money, the rare Olympic triumphs notwithstanding. As news reports of budding sportspersons fighting cash crunch, sports bodies' shenanigans and lack of facilities pour in from all corners, not many would be encouraged to opt for a career in sports. The lucky few who get to make a mark have an enthusiastic parent or a renowned coach managing them or taking care of the massive training expenses.
So, when two sports enthusiasts say their organisation has set up an institute to train sport professionals in Kochi, it surely does raise eyebrows. Sijin B T and Jibu Jibson launched Sports Management and Research Institute (SMRI) in 2013 as a sports agency. In 2016, they started the course at SMRI to train sports professionals including sports managers, scouts and engineers. Considering the source of income for a manager comes from the pocket of the sportsperson they manage and the financial condition of many of them here being less than satisfactory, do sports management courses have any relevance now?
Picture time: Sijin B T along with their mentors at the Sports & Management Research Institute
"Such concerns were valid a few years ago. But, the situation is changing for the better in recent times. Youngsters are being attracted to sports other than cricket and sports leagues are being formed for football, kabaddi and the like. The courses we offer assumes importance in this changing scenario," says Sijin. Training able sports administrators, Sijin says, could help the budding sportspersons and be financially viable at the same time. "Many state-level and national-level players have to put up with bad training facilities and coaches because they don't have enough money. But, an agent could get them brand endorsements and help them in finding better training options. SMRI has been doing that for some time now," says Sijin.
The first batch at SMRI had 10 students who would complete the one-year course in June. One of SMRI students, Josemon Thomas, had already got placed at a leading sports agency in India.
Partner in crime: Their mentor, partner, and friend is Jiri Cerny - CEO of MySports Pte Ltd, Singapore. He was a former Juventus Academy coach at Real Madrid Foundation
Former athlete Anju Bobby George believes sports management institutes could give sports in India the much-needed leg up. "There are not many institutes in India that offer a course in sports management and other related disciplines. Professional managers can help budding sportspersons in many ways. They have vast knowledge and better tools to analyse the performance of each athlete. This can go a long way in making a world class athlete," she says.
Jump start: Athlete Anju Bobby George opines that professional managers can help sportspersons in many ways
George says even though many people are trained by relatives, it is better to have a trained professional as your manager. "I had it lucky because my husband Bobby (George) was a trained professional. Not many have it that way and it is always better to put yourself in the hands of someone who is trained in what he does," she says, adding that the field is an emerging one in India and more institutes would mean better athletes and more medals.