Naidu Discovers Sports As New Thrust Area

Hyderabad: | Updated: Dec 23 2002, 05:30am hrs
After training in practising Yoga and self-discipline from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to the Brahmakumaris, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu is now going all out to promote sports in a big way. Every student must be encouraged to take up one sport or the other and practice regularly, said Mr Naidu recently.

So, the new focus area of the Andhra Pradesh government is sports it has identified it as a vehicle to reform society and shape human personality with a sound body and mind. The HRD training budget has been increased from Rs 3 crore in 1986 to Rs 40 crore at present. This speaks of the determination of the government in this aspect, said a senior government official. We are not for medals. We believe that sports will improve the confidence level of the educated youth who are today in a state of frustration for lack of job opportunities, he added.

Mr Naidu has already given enough thrust to kickstart sport activity in the state, with an investment of about Rs 300 crore, which includes a Rs 150 crore Hudco loan, to create world class infrastructure for sports at Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam.

Senior human resource development (HRD) consultant RC Sastry, a former ITC staffer, felt that Indian society had for long ignored the vital element in the overall development of human resource a healthy body. We are happy that the chief minister has linked sports with HRD. This will have a positive effect on the youth who are under pressure for lack of job opportunities, Mr Sastry said.

Besides using sports as a morale booster, the Andhra Pradesh government is also using sporting activity for business promotion. It has already pressed into service tour operators to entertain people coming from other parts of the country to witness some games taking place in and around Hyderabad. Also, the government has constituted a number of food-courts near the stadia to offer various Daccani delicacies, like Hyderabadi Biryani.

Despite all these efforts, sports-lovers fear that the tempo may die down once the national games are over. Though the state government is trying to organise some more sports events, including the Afro-Asian games, in Hyderabad, unless there is regular sports activity in the city, the focus may get blurred. There is need for the state government to strive to get schools of excellence to Hyderabad, like that of Bangalore and Patiala, to further sporting activity say some sources.

Andhra Pradesh boasts sports personalities such as Pullela Gopi Chand, a champion in the field of badminton, Mukesh Kumar in hockey, as also weight-lifting champions like Karnam Malleswari, Shailaja Pujari and Neelamseti Lakshmi. All these sportspersons can become the core team for these schools of excellence, say the sources.