How to become a Professional Athlete in India

Neeraj Chopra - Hima Das

In a country like India there are lot of talented athletes trying their best to represent the country and win medals in International level competitions. This article will show various avenues to athletes and guide them through the ways available for them to achieve their dreams.
A student pursuing his education in school or college can follow this route to become a professional athlete. First the student should approach the physical education director (PT) in school or college and enroll themselves in Athletics class. Then the athlete with the help of PT should  find out the events they are capable of winning a medal in inter school or inter college meet. After that by winning medals in each stage like district and state, they can move to the next level.  
An Aspiring athlete has to achieve the mark set by Athletic Federation of India(AFI) in national meet, so they can be in national camp. AFI will only choose athletes from National camp to represent India at International competitions.
If the athlete has not pursued his education , then the way to move forward is through government or private academies. This way can also be followed by athletes who do not proper facilities in their school or college.
The athlete can register himself in a private or government academy and with the help of coaches, he should find the event best suited for him. After that ,the athlete should  participate in the state level meets. When the athlete wins medals in state level championship, he will be selected by the state federation to participate in the national championship. Otherwise the athlete can directly send entries for various events conducted by AFI. 
An athlete can get into the national camp of AFI, only when he has achieved the entry marks set by the national federation for that particular event. AFI will only choose athletes from National camp to represent India at international competitions.
Athletes can make use of the two latest competitions Khelo India Games and National Inter District Championship. An athlete in school can approach them to participate in Khelo  Games. If he is approved by the school, then the athlete can participate in the state level meet. 
Athlete should win a medal in state event to represent the state at Khelo India Games at National level. It is a very big opportunity for the athlete to display his talent to all the national level coaches.  In addition to it, the competition  at national level will be telecasted in various media channels.
AFI is providing a opportunity for all the athletes till the age of 16 to participate in National Inter District Championship. Athlete should approach the district association and get selected by participating in their selection trials at district associations  for this competition. National level coaches will watch this event and select athletes to take part in national camps.
There are different categories for athletes according to their age:-
    • Men or Women
    • U20 Men or Women
    • U18 Boys or Girls
    • U16 Boys or Girls
    • U14 Boys or Girls
Important point :- Entries of athletes will be accepted for national events only when the athlete has met all the criteria's given by the federation for that particular event( ). Athletes of various categories youth, junior and senior should apply for the events which are suited to their age.
Athlete can use any of the above ways in order to achieve his ultimate aim of becoming a professional athlete and win medals for the country. Athletes can use this article as a guide and understand the various opportunities available for them in order to succeed in their life as a sportsperson.