The group one events of Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) nationals comprising athletics, volleyball and taekwondo will be held at Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE), Kariavattom, from December 27 to 30.
Around 1,500 sportspersons from all states and union territories are expected to take part in the four-day event.
PYKKA scheme was introduced in 2008-09 by the Centre to improve rural sports infrastructure as well as bring unrecognised talents to the mainstream.
“We expect almost 1,500 sportspersons from the rural parts of the country. The girls will be accommodated at SAI-LNCPE, while the boys will be housed in nearby schools and colleges,” said State Sports Council secretary P Abdul Razak.
Participants aged 16 years and below and residing in rural areas alone are entitled to take part in the events under PYKKA. The competitions in other disciplines were held earlier elsewhere and this is the final phase of the national meet.
Being the host, Kerala this time around has fielded a full contingent comprising 71 sportspersons and six officials. The state is currently the runners-up in athletics. Kerala Sports Council, which is organising the event on behalf of the Ministry of Sports, has also sought the cooperation of SAI in technical aspects.
The importance of PYKKA is that sportspersons from panchayat, block and district levels alone can participate in the competition. The key objective behind the scheme is to provide youngsters in the rural area access to sports training. This scheme has gone down well more with the northern states, where sports infrastructure has been limited to urban and suburban areas.
“In Kerala, we may not feel the the logic behind the scheme as we literally don’t have rural areas here. But in the north and north-eastern states there is a big dearth of sports infrastructure in the rural areas and the scheme was a shot in the arm to make sports popular among the rural folk,” said SAI Kerala region director Dr G Kishore.
The meet will be inaugurated by Sports Minister K B Ganesh Kumar.