CHENNAI: Sports facilities in eight states will be upgraded to Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) at an estimated cost of Rs 95.19 crores. These centres will identify and groom talent for the Olympics. In the first leg, eight states that have been approved for setting up KISCEs are Odisha, Mizoram, Telangana, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
"The ministry is upgrading existing sporting infrastructure in partnership with the state and UT, and creating KISCEs with the aim to create a robust sporting ecosystem in the entire country. Each KISCE will be extended sports-specific support in 14 Olympic sports, of which one state or UT will be given support for a maximum of 3 sports," said a sports ministry statement.
The proposed infrastructure upgradation includes setting up of sports science centre and also soft component in the form of quality coaches and sports science human resources like physiotherapists, strength and conditioning expert. Besides, high quality equipment will also be provided to the players. The academy will also have a high performance manager to ensure quality sports science input and performance management.
Speaking on the decision, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, "These Khelo India State Centres of Excellence are yet another step towards building a robust sports ecosystem on one hand and India's pursuit of excellence in Olympics, on the other."
The minister said these state-of-the-art centres will ensure that athletes proficient in a certain sport can be given the highest level of training. He also hoped that these centres will become the best facilities in the country to train athletes in the priority sports for which they have been earmarked. "I am confident this step will help to further India's effort of becoming one of the top
10 countries in the Olympics in 2028," he added.
According to the statement, the setting up of the KISCEs will also help to broad-base talent identification since the states and UTs will also identify and develop talent in each sport for which funding is received.
"As a joint partnership, the Sports Authority of India will provide financial support in various avenues like sports science back-up, engagement of coaches and support staff, procurement of sports equipment, among other things. The state will be responsible for lodging, boarding, regular maintenance, infrastructure upgradation and overall management of the centre," read the statement.
Meanwhile, top sporting facilities have been identified in six more states and union territories — Assam, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim — which will be upgraded to KISCE. Currently, SAI is undertaking the "Viability Gap Analysis" to identify areas where upgradation and support are needed in each centre.