Why B.V.P. Rao opposes the SAG-STC merger?

B.V.P. Rao, IAS (Retd), has resigned as member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India on Friday.

B.V.P. Rao has quit as a member of the governing body of SAI. (File Photo)   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

B.V.P. Rao, IAS (Retd), has resigned as member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India on Friday. “I am deeply saddened that the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided that Special Area Games scheme (SAG) will be merged with SAI Training Centres (STC) as per the decision of the last meeting chaired by you on March 13, 2020,” he said in the letter addressed to the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijju.

Rao also reminded that it was he who conceived, initiated, planned and executed Special Area Games Scheme (SAG) of SAI from 1985 to 1989 when he was an Officer on Special Duty in SAI.

And, he cited his report submitted on restructuring the SAI schemes a couple of years ago the reason for opposing the merger and resigning since there was no point in being on the Board when his brainchild was ‘destroyed’.

His key points in the note given voicing against the merger are as follows:

1. SAG scheme is meant for identifying the raw talent from tribal,coastal, remote areas of India on the basis of some traditions talent or talent based on genetic and geographical advantage like archery in tribal areas, rowers from coastal areas etc. SAG aims to tap raw talent and train them make champions . SAG successfully turned such raw talent to several Olympians like Limba Ram and many other internationals champions. Where as the STC centres are meant for training of already practising sub-junior/ junior champions at state level to national level.

2. There is difference how you select a talent for admission into SAG Centre and STC Centre. In SAG centres, talent spotting is done by some scientific parameters of like pure speed, strength, flexibility and body coordination etc. Such raw talent was put through assessment camps of couple months and finally suitable talent was admitted in to SAG scheme for long term training in a specific sport. I believe over a period of time this selections process was watered down and standards of selection of SAG centres have come down. Where as STC admission is for training already established sub junior/ Junior talent selected from various competitions and selections.

3. SAG Centres are talent specific and geographic/ region specific. Where as STCs are meant for Junior talent of a State where that STC is located.

4. I find some of SAG Centres are converted as National Centres of Excellence like Alleppy Water Sports Centre. That is fine as the training facility is very good and the talent from all over India can use that facility. But we should not forget to give opportunity to the natural/ traditional talent in rowing and canoeing at the traditional back ground of Kerala for which this centre was established. So SAG centre at Alleppy should always give opportunity to tap and train raw talent of Kerala in water sports.

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