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Rushdee Warley, CEO - Inspire Institute of Sport (Interview)

An excerpt from the interview of Rushdee Warley - He graduated from the University of Cape Town and followed that up with a Sports Business Program at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. He has more than twenty years of experience in the Sports industry which includes coaching, leading the high-performance programme for Swimming South Africa, working as a performance consultant for High-Performance Sport New Zealand, and leading the 2012 Olympic Games campaign for the swimming team of New Zealand.

Q) How did you decide to come to India? Tell us a little bit about your role at IIS and what it is all about.

A) In 2015 Mustafa Ghouse (CEO, JSW Sports) contacted me and started telling me about the project. He said, “Why don't you come over and have a look?” and I came over. I came in and had a look and at that time it was still very much at the building phase. Mustafa explained his vision to me, and what the thought process was around it, and what the place would look like. I was hooked because it seemed like something exciting. An opportunity to challenge myself, an opportunity to learn something new. I still had to explain that to my family because I had come alone.

Later, I brought my family over. I think it might have even been just about Diwali at that time, so it was quite vibrant. We went to look at different schools, different houses, housing opportunities. My kids were very young at the time, but I believe it's important to listen to children even at that particular age, so collectively as a family we took the decision to come to India.

The vision of IIS is to be the preferred home of Indian Olympic Champions and what we do every day is try and create a world-class daily training environment for athletes in a multidisciplinary approach where all they need to think about is how they're going to be better every day. That is what we do on a daily basis. That is what we believe, that is what we feel, that is what we try to implement every single day.

The thought process behind IIS was to create this environment, and the environment is not only about the facility, but also about the people within the facility. We managed to get a good group of young people that were motivated and driven by the same kind of desire that I just explained.

From a facility point of view, the thought process was to create a facility that would be compatible with anywhere else in the world. When the athletes are here, they feel that they are in a world-class environment, that there are no excuses for them. So, we went down to the minute details, whether that be the flooring, the accommodation, the cafeteria, it was all done to a world-class standard.

So, the people plus the environment now and the facility itself is something that we've been working on, and over a short period of time we've seen some relative success, and I'm sure if we continue to do this, especially in our drive towards 2024 and 2028, I think there will be a good opportunity to continue to develop athletes that are going to certainly make India proud.

"What we believe is that, at the end of the day, not everybody is going to be an Olympic champion, not everybody here is going to be an Olympian. But if we have contributed to them becoming a more productive member of society, a better citizen of India, then we've also succeeded."

To watch the complete interview, please click here

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