CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s is known for her promotion of sports in the State. She has initiated big plans to ensure that Tamil Nadu gets world-class sports infrastructure. She has set in motion many innovative initiatives for attaining global honours for the State in the sports sector. Within a few months of assuming office of the Chief Minister for the third term, Jayalalithaa announced many measures which would serve as a major thrust for the development of sports in the State with an aim to ensure global honours for Tamil Nadu.
Being a sports lover, the CM was magnanimous in hiking the cash awards for medal winners in international and national sports events besides announcing that a world-class Centre of Excellence in Sports (CES) would be set up in Chennai at a cost of `1 crore.
A special scheme for providing scientific training to sportspersons who would be participating in international events, setting up of residential sports hostels in 23 districts where everything is free for the students were some major initiatives.
The CM said that 25 boys and 25 girls between the age group of 10 and 14 who are interested in sports events and shows talent, would be selected from across the State and scientific training would be imparted to them at the CES. Modern gymnasium with sports equipment would be there and assistance for participating in the sports event conducted in foreign countries would be extended to these students. Apart from these, the government will help these students in getting quality education in reputed schools.
On January 3, 2012, she announced a new programme for providing daily training for skilled boys and girls who are interested in sports. Twenty boys and girls between the age group of 10-14 would be picked up based on their skill in various sports and would be admitted in the training centre for molding them as achievers in the future. These boys and girls will be given training in morning and evening at the centre for 25 days in a month and provided with food, travel allowance, uniform and sports equipment.
A couple of weeks later, on January 26, with a view to identify, train and encourage young sportspersons who can, in future, win medals in Olympic and other international events, the CM announced a Special Scholarship for Elite Sportspersons.
Later, the CM announced a slew of measures for sports development in TN and allocated `55.27 crore towards implementing them. The measures include - setting up of multi-purpose sports stadia, playgrounds, sports hostels, world-class synthetic surfaces for sports events, and conducting State-level sports events across Tamil Nadu and identification of young talents to be trained for international events.
On May 10, 2012, the CM announced that Chennai city will be hosting the Asian Athletic Championships to be held in August, 2013 wherein sportspersons from 44 countries are expected to participate. With a view to conduct this event in an excellent manner, the synthetic track in Nehru Indoor Stadium would be replaced and a new warm up track would also be laid. All the facilities in the stadium would be upgraded to international standards and sports equipment on par with global standards would be purchased for the event.
Some of the other initiatives taken during the past one year include: international stand synthetic athletic track in Trichi and a world-class hockey surface in Madurai at a cost of `12 crore, multi-purpose indoor stadia in five districts at a cost of `7.50 crore, setting up of world class Centre of Excellence in Chennai (`1.70 crore), Day Boarders and Week-end Coaching Schemes (`69.32 lakh), village sports centre in a village in each district (`62 lakh) and new sports hostels in districts (`4.15 crore).