Dr Janki Deole

Graduate story

Not many of us get close to sporting glory, but Janki Deole has helped her native India win well over 100 international medals.

The Staffordshire University graduate is a sport and exercise psychologist and has worked with an array of athletes, boxers, weightlifters, cricketers, archers, divers and other sporting champions.

To be at the top of their game, it’s not just about peak fitness and relentless training. Janki has helped them to handle intense pressure and compete in the right frame of mind.

She has also developed programmes for sports coaches and inspired school pupils to enjoy exercise and sport through a life skills scheme. Janki estimates she has worked with more than 10,000 people across sporting life in the last decade.

She honed her successful approach while doing a PhD in Sport Science and Psychology at Staffordshire University. Although she visited Stoke-on-Trent during her studies, she was based thousands of miles away in India and benefited from the flexibility of distance learning.

From South Asia to North Staffordshire

Janki has a background in sport herself and played tennis at an international level. “I chase my goals with an equal amount of zeal that I would chase a tennis ball,” she says.

She first became an international student in 2005 when she enrolled on a degree in Psychology, Sport and Performance at Middlesex University. She went on to take a Masters at Loughborough University.

Janki began her PhD journey at Staffordshire University in 2013, completing the Doctorate in 2019. She chose the University because of her supervisor and research area and says she ‘loved’ the experience.

“The focus of my PhD was on the challenge and threat states in Indian athletes. It helped me understand the demands of Indian athletes more in depth, and also understand and implement interventions that would help them manage stress and pressure.

“The University was extremely supportive as I completed most of my PhD in part-time mode as I was working in India,” she says.

While visiting Staffordshire as part of her studies, she also got to know some of the facilities here. “I found it very useful to learn about the psychophysiological instruments that were used in sport psychology research.”

Pioneer in sport psychology

In 2011, she co-founded Samiksha Sports (SSPL), India’s first professionally run sport and performance consultancy. It now has offices in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore.

She launched it with a goal to help more athletes win Olympic medals.

Janki already knew some of the key ingredients for success through her work as a lead sport psychologist at India’s Army Sports Institute. Her role there included profiling athletes, providing training, and designing a mental skills programme.

She worked with more than 300 athletes during her two years at the Institute, contributing towards 128 international medals.

Janki has also supported numerous sports groups over the years. It has included helping the Indian national hockey team prepare for the FIH Hockey World Cup and 2010 Commonwealth Games, where they won silver.

For the past five years, she has run a course in Sport and Performance Psychology at Symbiosis International University.

Looking back on her time at Staffordshire University, she says: “I feel immense satisfaction that I have been able to translate the knowledge I gained in the UK.”

Course studied
PhD Sport and Exercise Psychology
Year of graduation
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021