Kabaddi Adda

All You Need to Know about The Sports Authority of India's Talent Identification and Development Program

Sports Authority of India-SAI, introduced a Talent Identification Program in 2018 as part of the Khelo India Scheme where young talent across the country get a chance to make it big in Kabaddi. Read on to find out everything about the program from Mr. Rambir Singh Khokhar, Dhronacharya Awardee Kabaddi, who is part of the Talent Identification Program.



Sports Authority of India (SAI) introduced a Talent Identification and Development Program back in 2018 as part of the Khelo India Scheme, where the country's young and raw talent are picked out and given provisions to get better at their sport. Kabaddi was part of the program from its inception where SAI appoints some of the most experienced coaches in the country to go and look for grass root talent in the country. Mr. Rambir Singh Khokhar, Kabaddi Dronacharya award Awardee, is one of the expert coaches in the panel who travels to the most important junior tournaments and looks for talent. Kabaddi Adda had a chance to speak to Mr. Khokhar who shared all the details about the Program and how it is executed by SAI.

*Kabaddi Adda would like to thank Rambir Singh Khokhar for talking with us and sharing all the information regarding the Talent Identification Program

The program was first introduced in 2018, during the 1st Khelo India games in Delhi. This program aims to find young talent across the country from the grassroots and help these players reach the international level by providing them training, financial support, and any other kind of support that is needed to help the player grow. This program is for the age group of the Under 17 category. Sports Authority of India has set up a Talent Identification and Development Committee (TIDC) with expert coaches, Dronacharya Awardees, few eminent players, and an AKFI nominee who are part of the talent identification and development program. The TIDC is solely responsible for spotting talent across the country and helping them develop with the help of SAI and the Government of India.

Tournaments in which the U-17 players are spotted for SAI Talent Identification and Development Program-

  • Sub Junior Nationals
  • Junior Nationals
  • Khelo India Games
  • School Games Nationals by SGFI- U14, U17
  • AKFI state selection Tournaments- Sub Junior and Junior Category

Once the players are identified from the above-mentioned tournaments, they are now invited to the Sports Authority of India centers where the Performance Assessment Camp is conducted for one week to assess the players based on game skills and fitness. Under the Khelo India scheme, a High-Performance Manager is appointed who takes care of players' performance. Many scientific officers are present to evaluate the players keeping sports science techniques in mind, all of these departments come together along with expert coaches to select the players for the Talent Identification and Development Program (TID). Once the players are selected into the TID program, they have an option to train under the Sports Authority of India or any other place of their choice. Every player part of this program will receive rupees 10 thousand every month for their training, nutrition, managing injuries, etc. If the player chooses to train at one of the SAI centers, he/she will receive accommodation, food, training, and rupees 10 thousand/month for managing other expenses. This is one of the great features of this program set up by The SAI and The Government of India to help upcoming raw talent from the country. Mr. Rambir Singh Khokhar went on to further explain that the Talent and Development Program is an 8 year-long program for the players- if and only if their performance is constantly improving. For 8 years the players are taken care of very well and given the best of the facilities as per the player's needs to help them achieve great things for India. 

The 8 year-long program stays only valid if and only the performance and fitness of a player is on par. This assessment has 3 phases- Performance Assessment test Fitness Assessment test, and Skill Assessment test.  The performance of a player part of this program is evaluated during competitions, so the performance of the players is monitored in tournaments they participate in. SAI has developed a fitness assessment test purely for Kabaddi where an athlete's fitness is evaluated based on the fitness needs in Kabaddi. The fitness assessment test is only available in 4 SAI centers in the country- Bangalore, Patiala, Gandhinagar, Sonepat. The Fitness Assessment test is conducted under the eyes of the high-performance manager, fitness trainers, sports science faculty, and expert coaches. Finally, the 3rd phase is the Skills Assessment test which is used to evaluate a player's skill. SAI has a prescribed skill test for Kabaddi which was developed by the expert coaches which is analyzed during training. The skill test covers all aspects of the game- Raiding- Bonus and raid-specific skills, Defending- Corners, Covers- defense-specific skills. Mr. Rambir Khokhar also spoke about how in SAI centers they use video analysis of players during practice to help them get better at their skills. He further added that SAI in India is one of the equipped sports centers in the country, using technology to its best and helping players with their game. He also mentioned how Iran was so much ahead back in 2014 where they had video analysis and other technology to help their players with their game.

The Khelo India Scheme and SAI Talent Identification and Development Program have been a huge success, one of the instances which reflect the success is in the recently concluded 47th Junior Nationals where around 45-50 players who participated in the tournament were from the program. The players were seen playing not just from the SAI team, almost all other teams had players from the program. This is the need of the hour in the Indian sports ecosystem and Kabaddi especially being an indigenous sport it is on the right path with SAI Talent Identification and Development Program.