London, Jun 1 (PTI) A strong 22-member Indian coaching team spent two weeks in Birmingham to learn how latest research and training techniques can help boost athletes’ performance.

The strength and conditioning programme was put together by experts from the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences and University Birmingham Sport.

Their visit follows an agreement signed in November by the University of Birmingham and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to work together and help improve the sporting performance of India’s athletes.

Coaches specialising in sports including handball, canoeing and athletics studied a range of areas such as injury prevention, upper and lower body strength, agility and plyometrics, exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power.

Handball coach Varinder Verma said: “We’ve been amazed by the management, execution and training we received from University of Birmingham experts during this programme. We lack this knowledge in India and have learnt so much that we will be able to use with our athletes.”

Canoeing/kayaking coach Bilquish Mir said: “This has been the best experience of our life and we’re very grateful to the experts at Birmingham for welcoming us and teaching us so much. We’ve been really inspired and will be able to replicate these methods back home.”

The group spent much of their time based in University Birmingham Sport’s Sport Performance Centre, led by Head of Performance & Coaching Alex Taylor and supported by Head of Strength & Conditioning Darran Fowler.

Put together by SAI, the group’s studies in Birmingham are the first to follow last year’s formal agreement.

Birmingham’s collaboration with SAI began in 2012 through the work of staff in its School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences in 2012 and discussions held by Dr Martin Toms with the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and SAI about how the University could help the country’s athletes boost their performance.

Professor Janice Thompson, Head of School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences said: It’s wonderful to continue working with India’s best coaches. We look forward to welcoming many more of the country’s sports leaders to Birmingham and helping Indian athletes realise their full potential in future sporting events.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.