Hyderabad: Government of Telangana recently formed a Cabinet sub-committee to frame Sports Policy for the State and has requested all the stakeholders – athletes, coaches, associations and officials involved in sports – to come up with suggestions to frame the best policy in the country.
The sporting fraternity feels due importance should be given to support athletes with infrastructure and financial help. They feel the policy should be athlete-centric.
Veteran coach and Dronacharya awardee Nagapur Ramesh says ‘right to play’ is crucial for every child. “The major roadblock is lack of facilities in rural places. There is immense talent in rural Telangana and whoever wants to play should get access to facilities. There is no dearth of land in villages and all schools must be provided with infrastructure. Only then we can tap the talent,” he said. He further said there needs to be a sustainable model. “The priorities keep changing with change in government or the officials concerned. So irrespective of the authority or who is in power, there should be a model that can be operated without interruption,” he added. Veteran administrator Prof Ranga Rao, who served as State Olympic association president and as TS Athletics Association president, feels associations should be provided with adequate funds so that they can run year-long activities.
“There is no fund allotted to any association and whatever is being allotted is meagre. Unless we conduct inter-district tournaments and run activities throughout the year, we can’t groom talent. And also, the sporting facilities should be used for sports alone. Before framing the new Sports Policy, we need to go through the existing policy and study the drawbacks,” he opined.
Arjuna awardee roller skater Anup Kumar Yama is of the opinion that clubbing sports with education can work wonders. “I feel sports should be made part of education and make it mandatory so that many people take up sports as part of their life. And we need to have marks for athletes. If there is a State player, he can be given 15, 20 for a national player and 25 for an international athlete and if one is an outstanding athlete, he can get 30 marks. Only then we can encourage more and more kids to take up sports. Even parents will come forward to join their kids in sports. Most of the kids stop playing after schools. So this system needs to be implemented at Intermediate, degree and post-graduation levels as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, international boxer Nikhat Zareen said the athletes must be taken care of. “An athlete needs at least Rs 20,000 per month for training, diet and medical purposes. So they need to be provided financial assistance. The State needs to have a similar policy like Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). If an athlete brings a medal for the country at international events, they should be assured of a government job. States like Haryana have good policies where the athletes are rewarded for their hard work. That’s why they are successful.”
Indian gymnast Budda Aruna Reddy said that the quality of coaching can make a big difference. “The focus should be on quality coaching. Apart from major sporting centres in the city, the small centres like GHMC facilities lack quality coaches, which is a major drawback in a sport like gymnastics. When a kid is starting, he should be taught properly so that it can help him in the future. There is a lot of talent in gymnastics at grassroots. But there are no quality coaching available at all centres. The talent will go waste if he or she can’t find proper guidance at a young age.”
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