Politically unstable Jharkhand is offering Indian sports fans troubled by the multiple controversies dogging the Commonwealth Games a glimpse of how mega sporting events can be utilised for long term sporting gain.
The R700 crore stadia and facilities built for 34th National Games near Ranchi may soon form the core of India’s first central sports university, under a plan the Centre and Jharkhand government are working on.
The Central University of Jharkhand (CUJ) has submitted a “detailed project report” for the conversion of the National Games facilities into a sports university to the HRD ministry, government sources told HT.
The plan suggests opening Kendriya Vidyalayas near the proposed sports university and building greater linkages with schools to identify talented children and train them from a young age for sporting careers.
“The idea behind the plan is to utilise the massive stadia and facilities built for the Games to groom ordinary, poor but talented youth and children into sportspersons and other sports-related professionals of the future,” an official said.
The genesis of the sports university proposal lies in a meeting taken by the chief secretary of Jharkhand in October last year to plan for the utilisation of the National Games facilities after the event, sources said.
The state’s political instability and court cases have meant that the National Games originally scheduled for 2008 have not yet taken place.
But the Jharkhand government and the CUJ are keen that the facilities be transformed into a central sports varsity once the Games — scheduled for December — are over, the sources said.
“The plan involves the CUJ hand-holding the proposed new university initially, during which the Games facilities will be incorporated into institutes that will a part of the CUJ. Over a period of five years, the Instititutes will be amalgamated into a separate central sports university,” a source said.
The proposed university will combine sports training with academic programmes — in subjects such as sports management, sports medicine and sports psychology — sources said.