KOCHI: Sports Minister A C Moideen on Friday said the state government is planning to implement a `900-crore project to improve sports infrastructure across the state within the next three years.
He was speaking after inaugurating the Kerala State Sports Council’s Operation Olympia coaching scheme in badminton. The scheme is aimed at producing sporting talent in various disciplines from Kerala who could go on and win a medal at the 2024 Olympics.
“The project will be implemented through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). If everyone can work in unison, Kerala has a very bright future in sports,” said Moideen at the Regional Sports Centre, Kadavanthra, here.
The badminton coaching under the ambitious Operation Olympia scheme will be conducted with technical assistance from the reputed Hyderabad-based Gopichand Badminton Academy run by former All England Open champion Pullela Gopichand.
The Sports Minister also said the government will take action to maintain sports infrastructure installed with state government funds for the likes of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
“A special purpose vehicle consisting of people’s representatives, sportspersons and corporate personalities will be formed to oversee this,” he said.
“We want to maintain the facilities created for the World Cup so that the next generation can also make use of them.”
As many as 15 badminton players from across the state will form the first batch of the Operation Olympia at RSC. Govind Krishna, who won the bronze medal in the Asian Schools Badminton Championship in Nagpur, as well as Aravind Suresh and Varsha Venkatesh were felicitated by the minister during the function. He also distributed training kits to the trainees selected under the scheme.
Operation Olympia focuses on 11 Olympic disciplines - athletics, badminton, shooting, canoeing and kayaking, rowing, swimming, cycling, boxing, wrestling, fencing, and archery. Coaching is spread across Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam, Wayanad and Kannur.
As many as 210 athletes will be selected to the scheme. Coaching in eight of the 11 disciplines have already begun. Hibi Eden MLA, District Collector Mohammed Y Safirulla, Kerala State Sports Council president T P Dasan, secretary Sanjayan Kumar and vice-president Mercy Kuttan were among those present.