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National Sports Science Conference 2019: A look at the keynote speakers

National Sports Science Conference 2019: A look at the keynote speakers

The Bridge Desk

Published: 25 Aug 2019 3:09 PM GMT

The Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences (SSSS), a constituent of Symbiosis International University (SIU) is organising the third edition of the National Sports Science Conference (NSSC) over the course of three days, August 29 to 31 at the University Auditorium in Pune. The conference, which realises the motto of ‘converting dreams into reality’, aims to address India’s overall growth in the sporting landscape for the past few decades and to upgrade the sporting ecosystem in the form of economic as well as social development.


The organisers this year have taken a unique approach, trying to connect with sports business, media, marketing, finance and entrepreneurship in a bid to act as a springboard and encourage the growth of the Indian sporting eco-system. These aspects will not only provide a unique identity to the conference but also help bring sports to mainstream business. The conference will witness the presence of keynote speakers and household names of the Indian sports fraternity coming together for a common cause- to promote and propel Indian sports.


Arshi Yasin, CEO, and Co-Founder of The Bridge is someone who believes in turning ideas into reality. An adventurer by heart, Arshi has worked as a Digital Marketing Expert and Business Developer in the industry before starting The Bridge. Firmly believing in the idea of sports having the power to strengthen the youth of our nation, Arshi is trying to connect all the dots of the sports fraternity of India through ‘The Bridge’. She has also served as a Social Media Head of the Aam Aadmi Party during the initial years and has been a part of multiple successful digital media campaigns.


Nikhil never thought of selling & opening gyms would land up in his dream job when he joined Gold’s Gym as a franchising head for the Northern region over 11 years back and within five years, he was given the responsibility to handle pan India franchising. In his role as franchising head, he has taken the brand to a whole new orbit & in the last six years, under his leadership, India became the first and the only country outside the USA to have more than 144 gyms with a footprint in 90 cities.​ Now Nikhil spearheads the entire organisation from Business development, Gym Operations, HR, Finance, Education & Technology. ​Looking at adding training of people to gear up to the ever-expanding fitness market and expanding to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Nepal, etc. is the next goal for him in the coming years.​


Nikhil Latey has spent almost a decade working with some of the best athletes in the country on the field. He has been part of training and tournaments for a variety of sports like Boxing, Badminton, Shooting, Archery, etc. having attended several world cups and world championships. He was personal Physio for MC Mary Kom at the London Olympics in 2012, for Gagan Narang at Rio Olympics in 2016 and Saina Nehwal at All England Championships in 2015.


Ayaz Memon has been a journalist for 40 years. A graduate in economics and law from Mumbai University, he started off as a sports writer and went on to edit newspapers like Mid-Day, Bombay Times and DNA apart from being an editor of Sports week magazine and sports editor of the Independent and Times of India at various stages. He is now consulting editor with Network 18 and a columnist with the Dainik Bhaskar Group, Hindustan Times, Mint, Mail Today, Deccan Chronicle/Asian Age and Times of India writing on sports, politics, cinema and social issues. He has also been a commentator on cricket at various times with Star Sports and Set Max. Ayaz has authored two books on cricket and one on 50 years of India’s Independence, India 50 - The Making Of A Nation attached.


​Tushar Ramanan, MBA in (Marketing), Fitness Professional, Model, Actor, currently handling Business Development Pan India operations for Venkys Sports Nutrition.​ He has been awarded Best Athlete and Sportsman of the year twice in a row by his school, He was also the school and college sports captain and a soccer coach for three years for the University Football team.​ He has been an ex Junior India Soccer player, Mr. Pune Mr. Physique and owner of the first trademark Fitness event in India known as PUNE FITNESS CARNIVAL.​ Tushar Ramanan in the past has been a Fitness Trainer, Personal Trainer, Gym Manager, Gym Director, Gym Owner, Sports Nutrition Brand Manager and has spearheaded various events in the fitness industry.


Neel Shah has 17 years of experience in the development and commercialization of football in North America, Asia & Europe. In his current position with India On Track, Shah is responsible for running the Global Institute of Sports Business sports management program as well as securing new business for the group. Neel spent 7 years with New York-based Major League Soccer serving as the league’s Director of Fan Development. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the league’s national grassroots programming, working with MLS clubs to build their local market relevance and liaising with club supporter groups.​He received his bachelor’ Degree in Business Economics w./emphasis in Sports Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He then received his MBA in Sports Management from Seton Hall University located in South Orange, New Jersey.


Mr. Jitendra Joshi, fondly known as Jitu in the industry. Co-Founder and Director at Sportz Consult, Jitu holds an Engineering degree from Mumbai University and an MBA from Clemson University, USA. He has over 20 years of experience spanning technology, sales, and marketing, including a 5-year stint with KPMG Consulting, USA.​ With his extensive experience in the field of sports, Jitu has authored a White Paper on ‘Experiential Sports Marketing’ to help Brand Managers looking to gain a competitive edge by developing a positive brand image among its target audience.​ Jitu actively blogs on topics related to grassroots sports, lifestyle, sports parenting, sports sponsorships, experiential sports, employee engagement, women empowerment, etc. which have been published in magazines and portals like –ET Brand Equity, Ad Gully, BW Applause, BW Disrupt, Everything Experiential, Business India, Inside Sport and Parent Edge, to name a few.


Gaurav Sundararaman is a cricket fanatic. He holds degrees in computer science and business administration and has used his skills and strengths from these fields to carve a unique niche in the cricket world. He spent four years helping international teams (countries and franchises) use advanced analytics to create a winning edge. Among his highlights was playing a small but significant part of the WorldT20 winning West Indies team in 2016 and co-authoring a paper at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. Over the last 3 years, he has worked with the magicians at ESPN Cricinfo to provide compelling and intelligent insight into how teams and players really win.


Barbora is the Executive Director, Investor, and Mentor, based in India, an experienced market leader, and project director striving to build value and deliver positive impact solutions.​ Over the past 15 years, she has been developing solutions working with corporations, governments, foundations, communities & investors to formulate and implement strategies for breakthrough results in Europe, India and the Middle East.​ In reference to this conference, her experience includes developing Sports Strategies and Sports Development at the national level and city level, including NOC, Sports Academies and Foundations. She is a passionate multi-sports person with awards and achievements at the national competition level.​ She pioneered the India Positive Impact Community in 2017 and Qatar Strategy Execution Community in 2012.​ She started her professional career working in international development institutions, global telecom & IT companies and was a partner in a successful start-up company in Slovakia.​


Raghu Iyer is a Sports, Media, and Entertainment professional with work experience of over 25 years in various companies in India and abroad. He has been in the Indian Sports industry for more than a decade right from 2007.​ Raghu is currently the CEO of the Sports Vertical of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group who owns the ATK football team in the ISL, RPSG Mavericks – the TT team in UTT & Rising Pune Supergiant cricket team in the IPL. Prior to Joining the RPSG group in Jan 2016, he was with the Rajasthan Royals for 8 years, since their inception in 2007 and played a major role in building the Royals brand. His other assignments have been with multinationals Discovery Channel, Sony Entertainment, Reuters and Hutchison Max Telecom. Raghu is a BA (Honours) Economics graduate from SRCC Delhi University and also possesses an MBA in Marketing from NMIMS, Mumbai University.​ He is an ardent sportsman himself and believes in keeping fit by playing squash and badminton. Besides sports, Raghu also takes a keen interest in music and Bollywood Films. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Nimisha and 18 years old son Siddhant.


Hiren Mody is the group vice president at 11SPORTS and Chennaiyin FC, he is responsible for all commercial functions. He has been instrumental in setting up Ultimate Table Tennis from its inaugural season when he was with IMG Reliance as the Deputy General Manager of Business Development. At IMGR he was responsible for launching new IPs and handling the marketing rights agreement with the Basketball Federation of India. While at IMG Reliance he launched the Indian Schools and Colleges Basketball League under the aegis of the federation and was also a part of the IMGR consulting team. His key passion is to take up the challenge of establishing non-cricket sports in the country.​


Smita Jain is a Management Consulting professional with 12+ years of experience in consulting, corporate strategy and finance for Indian and overseas clients. She is currently working at a Big 4 Consulting Firm based in Gurugram, India and focuses on Leisure and Sports among other sectors. Smita was a Key Speaker at the India chapter of World Sports analytics conference in 2018 and has authored multiple articles for the ‘Nation of Sports’ magazine. She was also the team lead for the KPMG-CII Business of Sports Report.​ Smita graduated with a B. Com (Hons) from Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University and Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM/MBA) degrees from the Indian Institute of Management, Indore and a Certificate Program in Digital Strategies of Business from Columbia Business School.​


As CEO & CTO, he has been responsible for setting up the team including Technical / Coaching staff, Administrative Staff and Players. Instrumental in successfully setting up and technically managing India's premier Football club Bengaluru FC.​ He has been instrumental in creating club partnerships with KIA Motors, Kingfisher, SF Sonic, Epson, Nissin Noodles and kit partner PUMA​, also, he was nominated to address the AFC League Development Program at the AFC headquarters in Malaysia in December 2016. He was invited to speak at the workshop in order to help member Associations of AFC in developing their leagues.

About SSSS

Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences (SSSS) Pune, is a constituent of Symbiosis International (Deemed University) and offers an MBA in Sports Management. Since the inception of the program in 2016, the institute has kept pace with the changing environment in the business of sports. The School updates the students with the latest trends and technology used in Sports. Our endeavour is to create a forum where leaders from the sports industry interact with future sports managers. We believe that one of the best ways to prepare for the future is to engage in a lively and spirited dialogue about the changes to come and it is with this objective that we organize a Sports Conference every year.

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