Cooch Behar (West Bengal) [India], January 16 (ANI): Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports and Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur on Sunday joined the Bhoomi Pujan (groundbreaking ceremony) of the first National Centre or Excellence being set up with the joint partnership of the Sports Authority of India and the Indian Railways.
Speaking at the event Thakur said, "This centre will not just be a platform of world-class training for athletes of the region, but also for athletes from across the country. I am confident that elite athletes, who will represent India in the Olympics and other international events, will emerge from this centre. However, this would not have been possible without the help of the Indian Railways that came forward to partner in this initiative and handed over 20 acres of land."
"This NCOE is historical because this is the very first time that SAI has partnered with any other organisation to build a National Centre of Excellence. I thank the Union Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw for his kind cooperation in this project," he added.
The SAI Railways NCOE is unique because this is the first-ever NCOE for which SAI has partnered with another organisation. The railways have given 19.5 acres of land in which the world-class centre will be set up with several facilities, including, a 400 meters synthetic track of international standard, a football ground, a multi-purpose hall for indoor games and a 100 bedded hostel. The indoor facilities will have major games such as boxing, judo, wrestling, volleyball, badminton, basketball and others. An international standard hockey synthetic turf is also planned.
Speaking at the event Thakur said, "I believe that athletes from this region who will now have access to world-class infrastructure, the right diet, the best coaches and sports science facilities, here at the SAI Railway NCOE, can dream of making a career in sport. There is now a chance for sporting talent in the region to be identified and nurtured."
"It has been the endeavour of the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to ensure the availability of top-class training infrastructure across the country to train athletes for the Olympics and such international events through the Sports Authority of India's National Centers of Excellence. The 23 NCOEs across the country imparts specialised training and playing facilities to elite and development level athletes in 14 priority and high-priority disciplines, provides sports science backup, individual diet prescribed by trained nutritionists and overall supervision of top-class coaches, qualified support staff and high-performance directors," the ministry said in a press note.
The event was also attended by John Barla, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Sandip Pradhan, director general, of Sports Authority of India, Anshul Gupta, General Manager, of Indian Railways, Joint Secretary of the Indian Olympic Association and President of the All India Football Federation, Kalyan Chaubey. (ANI)