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Can a historic bond over sports have an ambitious future? Australia and India say aye!

New Delhi (India), February 22: India and Australia have a strong bond over cricket. The two countries have a long-standing rivalry in the sport, with each team producing some of the world*s best cricketers. The intense and passionate nature of their matches has helped to foster a sense of mutual respect and admiration between the two nations.

The historic love the nations have had and shared for this sport is truly sublime. It*s not a surprise, therefore, that despite the widening spectrum of associations and familiarities between the two nations, it remains the top favourite.

When a spirit of sportsmanship and endeavour connects with a resource of knowledge and partnership, the results can be quite inspiring.

A positive outtake of this shared enthusiasm is to explore more in the sports arena together. Both India and Australia look at each other as ‘teammates* given their long-standing associations through sports.

In recent times, Indian Government has attached strategic priority to sports and sports participation, emphasising the criticality of its enhancement for the population. There is a huge demand for entrenching sports at the grassroots levels, in academics and industry and for ensuring facilities, funding, resources and infrastructure for this across India.

Australia has a developed sports industry, expertise in core sports and supporting areas of sports science, management, and medical know-how and is in a position to build a dynamic sports partnership with India.

Therefore, sports engagement is a crucial component of this bilateral relationship. To deepen engagement and collaboration between the two countries, sports administration, management, education, training, coaching and infrastructure development will be important areas of knowledge exchange.

As mentioned in the India Economic Strategy 2035 – ‘Australia has world-leading sports science, equipment and intellectual property. Australian company Catapult is a world leader in sports analytics, and Deakin University is ranked the world*s best for sports science (World University Rankings, Times Higher Education).*

The area of sports partnership is gaining ground with deeper academic engagement in terms of Australia providing industry-relevant knowledge for students through its colleges and universities as well as programs run in Indian schools and training through sporting federations.

Numerous sporting events are always taking place, facilitated by bilateral stakeholders for activities, events and workshops involving elite sportsmen, local and international students, celebrities and influencers and government representatives of both nations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is championing improved sports performance from India both locally and globally and has attuned policy and funding for mainstreaming sports through academics, increasing the scope for the training of sportspersons and enhancing the infrastructure for support and facilitation.

‘Khelo India* has an allotted budget of US $350 million over three years and under the PM*s directive, a dedicated Olympic Cell and National Sports University have been set up.

In this commitment, Australia sees an opportunity to help India and Australia partner for long-term goal realisation. An exclusive and extensive partnership that encompasses cricket and moves forward to a 360-degree sports focus.

India and Australia have a shared goal to increase the participation of women in sports and sports industries. Gender inclusion and consequent empowerment are a priority of both nations and an essential element of sports diplomacy.

An extension of the stress on inclusion also covers the inclusion of the disabled and enables them further for improved and motivated participation, performance and management. India, along with Australia, advocates the cause for focused enhancement and empowerment of such sports persons and wider disability inclusion in future.

Gender equality, women*s inclusion and a better scope for para-sports are values that are fostered in the Australian education system in the sports field.

Academia-industry interface can make a profound difference at the grassroots level in shaping a futuristic bilateral sports ecosystem. Supplemented by government and public policy support and institutional collaborations with public and private agencies in the bilateral sports arena, the positive outcomes in future are immense.

A historic mateship is already paving the way for India and Australia to stretch the boundaries to all-around sports and bring the glory home.

By

By Prof Iain Martin, President & Vice-Chancellor, Deakin University – Professor Martin commenced as Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University on 1 July 2019. He grew up in the UK and completed his medical degree, a doctorate, and a Master of Education at the University of Leeds. Professor Martin*s move from a clinical academic career to wider university leadership roles was driven by his passionate belief in the importance of universities and the transformational power of higher education for individuals and communities.

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