VIJAYAWADA: Members of various sports associations and veteran players and medal winners gave suggestions to the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) to formulate a new sports policy for the State at a round table conference here Wednesday. Though the conference was aimed at drafting a new sports policy, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs K Atchannaidu could not attend it as he was busy elsewhere. I Srinivas, Secretary to Government of India, Department of Sports, attended the conference.
Later, briefing media persons, SAAP chairman PR Mohan said CM N Chandrababu Naidu had directed that suggestions be taken from experts before drafting the policy so that it could be the best in India.
Several sports associations, who made submissions at the conference, stressed the need for strengthening sports at the grassroots level. Sportspersons and teachers urged the government to see that schemes for the promotion of sports at the grassroots were streamlined and implemented properly, Mohan said.
SAAP has written a letter to DGP N Sambasiva Rao to implement two per cent reservation for sportspersons in the ongoing recruitment of constables. Gopi Nath Jatti, IPS, participated in the conference and promised implementation of sports quota in the police department, Mohan added.
However, the SAAP chairman made it clear that a representation would be submitted to the State government not to allot the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium (IGMC) for hosting government activities as it was the only stadium available in the city for sportspersons.
He also admitted that several sports associations and veteran players were not invited to the conference due to time constraint. In the next few days, a similar meeting would be conducted in the city at which suggestions of sports associations and senior sports journalists would be accepted.
At the conference, grandmaster Koneru Humpy stressed the need to take chess into rural areas as it develops mental ability among students. Academies should be established across the State to bring the inherent talent among the rural youth, she suggested. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president and Narasapuram MP Gokaraju Gangaraju suggested that adequate funds be allocated by the State government uniformly to all the sports associations. As of now, the Andhra Cricket Association has been maintaining 13 cricket academies in the State. Enough number of staff will be deployed to maintain the grounds, he said. SAAP vice-chairman and managing director N Bangaru Raju said a majority of schools across the State have no sports infrastructure and neither do they allocate any budget for it. A representation would be submitted to the chief minister requesting him to include sports in the budget and increase reservation for sportsmen from the existing 2 per cent to 5 in the State on the lines of the Central Sports Policy to provide them a secure income source.