The annual sports event for students in Gujarat, Khel Mahakumbh, scheduled to start from October 4 gets into a more professional mode this time.
Apart from two new categories introduced this year – Under-11 and Under-13 – a league system has been introduced for all team events to ensure rural teams get more opportunities to showcase their talent and a higher quality competition and setting up of special talent identification teams of senior coaches constituted with the help of sports associations for identifying talent among students.
Another change this time, instead of a continuous event, it has been split into two – from October 4 to 18 and the other in November, post Diwali. The U-11 age groups competitions will be used to identify “Young Talent”, while the U-13 age group shall be used to identify young talent and “Proven Talent” among students. As two additional age groups have been introduced – Under 11 and Under 13 – the authorities are expecting a better participation, this year.
The young talent (mainly identified through 100 metre and standing broad jump) will further undergo comprehensive motor ability tests at both district level and state level and selected ones shall be given an opportunity to be inducted in the District Level Sports School (DLSS). The players in proven talent will be identified through their performance in specific sports at state level competitions.
“Also, the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) conduct their tournaments for age groups of U-14. By identifying the talent for U-13, it will allow time to develop and groom the talent further to compete well at the SGFI. Senior coaches shall be present at the competitions with clear focus on identifying talent where separate teams for identifying game specific (proven talent) and young talent are being formed at the district level with the help of the sports associations,” said Sandip Pradhan, director general Sports Authority of Gujarat.
This talent would be groomed at the six residential and non-residential sports schools recently started by the state government. Another feature is to make comprehensive database of the talented players found as a result of Khel Mahakumbh. The database will enable the Sports Authority of Gujarat to identify the schools doing well in sports, Physical Education teachers and coaches producing good result.
Also, improved prize money management will be introduced this time in order to ensure accurate and timely distribution of the prize money. A “Winning Module” software that captures the details of the winners from the district level will be implemented. While new processes are being introduced to ensure faster cheque distribution to the winners in the age groups Under 11 and 13 and for all the other age groups, direct money transfer into the winners accounts has been planned.
Khel Mahakumbh covering 21 sports including volleyball, swimming, athletics, judo, archery, kushti, kabaddi, skating, tennis, basket ball, taekwondo, hockey, badminton, table tennis, football, kho-kho, tug of war, handball, yogasan, chess and shooting ball was introduced in 2010. So far, over 9.5 lakh registrations have been done for the event.
A talent hunt
The state government has started six residential sports schools – in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vyara, Kadi, Modassa, Dev Gadh Bariya and Idar – from this academic session, June 2014. For non-residential sports schools, MoUs have been signed with the existing schools with good track record and has inclination to promote sports.
In its first batch, around 200 players have been admitted to different sports residential schools, while nearly 1,000 are being trained at the non-residential sports schools. All expenditures of the players such as education, lodging, boarding, conveyance, sports training, clothing is being met out by the state government. Apart from this, stipend is also given to the players. The coaches are also provided to the schools for training players.