Olympian swimmer and Arjuna Awardee Rehan Poncha today said that India needs a system like USA's NCAA to encourage sport at collegiate level.
Speaking at Thapar University's sports festival 'Urja' -- an event organized in association with Indian Collegiate Athletics Programme (ICAP), Rehan said,"India desperately needs a system like USA's National Collegiate Athletic Association to encourage sport at a collegiate level, and address dropouts. I think ICAP, if it does what it intends, and receives the necessary support it is a good step in that direction."
He added,"So many athletes give up sport in pursuit of academic goals, and if we can find a way to help students balance both, we would create a platform for the country to achieve greater success internationally."
Rehan addressed students on the theme of Excellence - Lessons from a Lifetime in Sport and encouraged them to follow their passion and put in the hard work essential to make their dreams come true.
Both Rehan and boxer Akhil Kumar interacted with the students, signed the Wall of Fame and took photographs with the students.
Dr Maneek Kumar, Dean, Student Affairs and Professor of Civil Engineering, Thapar University, Patiala, said "The sports festival is a vital addition to our curricullum as the university feels that, in order to grow in life, each of the student must pick up and play at least one sport in his or her life.
"The sports festival URJA is Thapar University's way of encouraging students to take to sports in a big way and make it an integral part of their life.
"Also the universities are a breeding ground for sportsmen who can further bring laurels to their country. Through URJA we intend to provide the platform for the youth to participate, excel and grow."
He said the varsity had invited Rehan and Akhil, as they're a perfect example for young students to emulate. Their life stories are very inspiring. These sports men have achieved so much for their country that their mere presence at such sports festival is an inspiration for the youth of our country," he added.