Official Launch of IREPS India at FICCI, Delhi: A Paradigm Shift in Sports and Fitness Education in India

Future-proofing the Indian Fitness Industry is possible only when practical education is provided which reflect global standards and is recognized by Indian government. With the launch of IREPS, the existing uncertified trainers and coaches will now be able to get value-added training and certification with IREPS which will be equal to eREPs in Europe. This opens up international career opportunities for Indian fitness professionals.

April 27, 2019, Delhi: IREPS formal launch event was driven by the motive and tagline of ‘Standardizing The Indian Fitness Industry’. Welcome note was extended by Mr. Tahsin Zahid, COO SPEFL-Skill Council and introduced the vision of IREPS. Mr. Radheshyam Julania, Sports Secretary, SAI elaborated the theme. He said that initially it happened that SAI turned into a medium of securing jobs for sports persons either in government or private sector in the eyes of people more than a development and growth of sports industry.

But in the big picture, he understood that there is change of perspective and there is nothing wrong in doing so and why not create skilled human resource in sports and fitness sector who are employable and deliver justice to their profession bringing in quality standards. He said that his point of view changed when he met Mr. Ambani and he said that Sports is indeed a business if there is framework which provides certainty. He stated an incident when he prepared state calendar bringing in certainty – where, when and what events will be held in fooball.

He highlighted how FIFA had all the broadcasting rights and 20% went to our own federations, so if it can be a business for FIFA, it could well be for India! Cricket as a sport had created and resumed so many jobs in India. Outside the stadium, sports is recreation and entertainment industry, there are innumerable jobs here whether it is sports science, coaching, strength and conditioning trainers, research department, and many more. We just have to unleash the chain. This is where IREPS can play a pivotal role. Everybody is a coach or trainer and there is no standardization and control in this industry. We must lay down standards.

He summed up and said that there is always a conflict between secured job and performance; it does affect athletic performance and hence, IREPS will prepare trainers based on professional skills in private sector so that performance flourishes with competing spirit.

Mr. Julian Berriman, Director Professional Standards Committee, Europe Active, took over the stage and said that we can work a lot together and contribute to the growth of fitness industry as a whole. Europe Active is driven by more people, more active, more often.  Mr. Julian has been a personal trainer himself along with an osteopath and tutor. Europe Active runs eREPs. He said that in Europe the industry penetration rate is 9.4% and India it hardly 0.5%. In a country with billions of people has enormous scope with the rise of fitness industry here. Over 160 accredited training providers in Europe. It parallels the course in IREPS. IREPS recognized person coming to Europe will be given equal weightage there and Mr. Julian said that they will stand an equal chance to work in European countries! The ambition hence is Employability and Growth = Prosperity for All.

After this session, an MOU was signed by Mr. Tahsin Zahid and Mr. Juliam Berriman sealing collective efforts to bring standardized certification courses in India which will be equally recognized in Europe. A formal logo launch of IREPS followed.

A Panel Discussion on Standardizing The Indian Fitness Industry to International Standards with panelists like Mr. Bhupender Dhawan (Dronacharya Awardee), Dr. Poornima (Sports Physiotherapist, Fitness Gold Quest), Mr. Sandeep Verma, R. Raghunandan

(President, Karnataka Gym Association and WABBA India) along with Mr. Julian Berriman. Mr. Bhupender Dhawan said addressing his students that it is a golden opportunity to be trained and certified with international standards recognized by Indian government. He stressed on the value of right knowledge and career oriented education.

Mr. Berriman said that they look forward to ‘future-proof’ fitness industry by achieving strategic milestones.This is a young industry which can be moved in directional growth with the help of the youth with the accredited, right skills up their sleeves. Dr. Poornima said that athletes feel more comfortable working with physiotherapist to bring out the best injury free performance out of them than PT or strength and conditioning coach. Which shouldn't be the scenario. Physiotherapists are not the experts in training for a particular sport and kind of strength and conditioning for that particular sport. If the coaches are trained in the right skill set and are able to put it across, the athletes will start going to them. Also, there should be right awareness among athletes on how they can train with right kind of scientific support provided together by physiotherapy and strength and conditioning coaches. There should be standardization of basic skill set and IREPS can contribute majorly to that.

The event disseminated important information with respect to IREPS. Bodyandstrength.com wrapped up the coverage of this evolutionary session with short interviews of some of the important dignitaries. It is indeed the necessity at the moment to gain recognized certifications with right knowledge pertaining to one’s field in sports and fitness industry, which matches international standards and can also be upgraded with time. IREPS is all set to play the catalyst in achieving this target in India.

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