Athletes and administrators offer solutions at Sportstar’s Conclave; Sports Minister feels SKL will be a game-changer
With not a single Kerala woman in the Indian team at the Tokyo Olympics, the Kerala Sports Conclave, organised by Sportstar here on Wednesday, offered a wonderful opportunity to discuss the issue.
“This is a time when we need to reflect on what happened to Kerala sports,” said V. Abdurahiman, Kerala Sports Minister. “We need to bring back the time when we had stars like P.T. Usha, Shiny Abraham and M.D. Valsamma.”
Kerala is working on a new sports policy and a unique Sports Kerala Limited (SKL), a PSU exclusively for sport, which the Sports Minister hopes will be a game-changer.
“We believe that Sports Kerala Ltd. will bring about massive changes on how stadiums are utilised. The government also plans to conduct tournaments jointly with sports associations,” said Abdurahiman.
This answered football greats I.M. Vijayan and Jo Paul Ancheri’s worry that the lack of tournaments was stopping talent from coming to the fore and the institutional football teams had virtually nothing to play for despite year-round training.
“This is only the beginning,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a statement, about the changes coming in. “With proper training and facilities, outstanding athletes will emerge from here.”
Usha spoke about the need to find out why athletes achieve qualification standards but were unable to repeat it at major events like the Olympics and Worlds. “We also need guidance from sports science experts on how to handle injury rehab, and how to strengthen the athletes after injury,” she said.
International shooter Elizabeth Susan Koshy was keen that the shooting range in Thiruvananthapuram be converted into a full-fledged academy with the right people managing things.
“We have a world-class range but there are a lot of formalities when one wants to use it. We should also make the academy affordable since shooting is already an expensive sport. We need to have more centres too,” said Elizabeth, a multiple National champion.
Sports stars Ambika Radhika, Mayookha Johny, P. Ramachandran, Jincy Philip, K.C. Lekha, C.K. Vineeth, Mercy Kuttan (also the Kerala Sports Council president) and sports administrators Geromic George (Director-Sports, Kerala), Jayesh George (BCCI joint secretary), Sreejith Nair (KCA secretary), G. Kishore (Director SAI-Kerala) and MLA M. Mukesh also spoke on the occasion.
Ayon Sengupta, Editor, Sportstar, explained the theme of the Conclave and K.C. Vijaya Kumar, The Hindu‘s Sports Editor, assured that a white paper would be presented to the Sports Minister on the way forward for Kerala sport. The event was anchored by A. Vinod, The Hindu’s Kerala sports bureau chief.
Jain University was the presenting sponsor, while the event, powered by SUT Pattom, had NECC and LIC as associate sponsors.