Updated: January 19, 2021 8:03:50 am
THE AIM was to bring India in the top 10 by the 2028 Olympics and, to make that possible, sports facilities had to be created on the ground, said Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju. “We intend to start 1,000 Khelo India sports centres at the district level across the country. We have around 700 districts in the country, which means that we will have at least one centre per district, some districts will have more,” said Rijiju in Pune on Monday.
Rijiju said, “Pune is not just a sports centre for Maharashtra, but also for the entire country. Pune and Maharashtra have potential to produce future champions for the country.”
He added, “Today is a special day as we are launching Khelo India State Centre of Excellence here. With this launch, we want to hold hands with the state government and work towards the progress of sports.”
He also said, “Pune has a lot of talent, so does Mumbai. You go to Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan or any region of the state, there is an abundance of sporting talent available. We talk about having a tradition of sports, but we still don’t have a strong culture of sports. We need to work towards imbibing a strong sports culture in the people. The least we can do to support sports is to start watching them. We have seen that cricket is popular because people watch it. Like we made kabaddi popular by watching the league, we should start watching other sports too.”
The Union minister pointed out that Maharashtra was the only state in the country to have three centres of excellence. “Out of 23 state centres of excellence, three would be in Maharashtra,” he said.
The Union minister was in the city to launch the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) at Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge-Balewadi. Ministers Sunil Kedar and Aditi Tatkare, local MP Girish Bapat, Commissioner of Sports and Youth Welfare Om Prakash Bakoria, PCMC Mayor Usha Dhore, Pimpri-Chinchwad Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash, and Sushmita Jyotsi, Regional Director, Sports Authority of India-Regional Centre Kandivali, Mumbai, were also present on the occasion.
Kedar and Tatkare asked Rijiju to pay attention to pending proposals of the state, on which Rijiju assured them that the needful would be done.
Bakoria made a presentation on the sports scenario in the state and also on the activities to be undertaken from the new centre. He said 30 athletes each from shooting, cycling and athletics will be identified for training, and the talent identification process will begin soon. The total cost of the project at Balewadi would be Rs 38.02 crore.
So far, Rs 2.75 crore has been spent for recurring expenditure, including coaching, sports science and management, asset utilisation charges, minor injuries management, general sports training kit, recurring expenses for consumable equipment, sport equipment, while Rs 5 crore has been spent on a shooting range target system. Eqipment for the sports science centre has been provided by SAI.
A pact was signed between Directorate of Sports and Youth Services Maharashtra State and SAI for the centre. Athletes who have qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, including Rahi Sarnobat, Tejaswini Savant and Swarup Unhalkar (Paralympics), were felicitated. Varun Kapoor, ranked 2 in the world in the under-19 category in badminton, was also felicitated.
Minister visits rowing facility at CME
Rijiju also visited Army Rowing Node (ARN) at College of Military Engineering (CME) and Army Sports Institute (ASI) in the city and reviewed ongoing training activities.
During the visit, the minister witnessed the training methodology of the Indian rowing team and facilities available for the ongoing national coaching camp at ARN.
The ARN, located on the CME campus, is the only manmade rowing channel with international standards in India. The node trains Indian rowing teams for taking part in various national and international rowing events.
At present, the Indian rowing team is preparing for the Olympics Qualification Regatta, Asian Paralympic Qualification Regatta and Asian Rowing Championship. Arjuna awardee and Olympian Subedar Sawarn Singh is part of the ongoing national coaching camp. The rower is preparing for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers. Naib Subedar Tejas Shinde is preparing for the upcoming Asian Rowing Championship.
At the ASI, Rijiju interacted with archers attending the National Archery Camp. The core group of archers has five Arjuna awardees, including three Padma Shri winners. The archers have already booked quotas in both men and women categories for the Olympics with few more to be earned in the upcoming qualifiers scheduled in the later months.
The minister also met weightlifters, wrestlers and boxers. The ASI currently has twelve sportspersons, who have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
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