Sports experts say the limited infrastructure and poor maintenance of existing structures are hindrances to budding sporting talent in the Union Territory
The performance of the Indian contingent in the Tokyo Olympics has created much enthusiasm among children and youth in the country towards participating in sports.
For attracting more children and youngsters to sporting events, creating proper infrastructure and training facilities is essential.
Sportspersons in Puducherry believe the Union Territory needs to augment its existing infrastructure, especially in rural areas and provide better trainers to attract more youth to sports.
“As of now, the town has only one stadium that too with limited facilities. The stadium is only now being provided with a synthetic track. Poor maintenance of the stadium and the rooms are another issue at the Indira Gandhi Sports Stadium at Uppalam,” said Govindasamy, secretary, Pondy Athletic Association.
R. Renjith, a resident of Madagadipet, said there are several promising students in government schools who could be drawn into various sporting events. “But unfortunately, schools have no proper mechanism or people to hunt for talent. Even if the schools identify the students for providing training in some events, they lack facilities to practise and improve their game,” he added.
According to Mr. Govindasamy, a number of rural students show keen interest in athletics and volleyball in the Union Territory. “The need of the hour is to have stadiums in places such as Bahour, Villianur and Madagadipet. The Directorate of Sports and the School Education Department should create a group of coaches and physical education teachers to identify potential talent in schools. They should be given proper training in these stadiums,” he said.
President of Pondicherry Roller Skating Association, G. Sri Ram Prasad said construction of stadia or creating facilities was not the only important factor. He cited the poor condition of the skating ring at Lawspet as an example for poor maintenance. “The ring has developed cracks and it has become a favourite destination for tipplers in the night,” he said.
A senior official in the Directorate of Sports told The Hindu that there was no doubt about the need to create more infrastructure. “It is not just lack of infrastructure alone that is the reason for poor state of affairs. Our approach has to change, especially in identifying talent and in the quality of trainers,” he said.
The present state may change for better with the establishment of the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) in Puducherry. “We are in the process of converting Rajiv Gandhi Sports School to KISCE. It will be a fully Central government centre which will concentrate on talent hunt, training and infrastructure,” he said.
In Puducherry, the Centre has identified athletics, badminton and weight lifting as three sporting events to be promoted among youngsters.
KISCE would provide high performance managers, coaches, physical trainers, sports medicine specialists and dietician to create a talent pool in each of three sporting disciplines.
A group of 20 boys and girls each would selected for all the three disciplines through talent hunt programme in schools and colleges, he added.