Candid views were expressed and ideas were put forth by some of the biggest names in Indian sport at Hotel SP Grand Days here on Wednesday. Listening to them eagerly was the Sports Minister of Kerala.
The Sportstar Kerala Sports Conclave was a resounding success as the event featured outstanding athletes from varied disciplines , who spoke about their respective sports and gave suggestions to the government. Sports Minister V. Abdurahiman, who stayed on till the end of the programme, ensured that the points would be taken note of.
P.T. Usha, one of India’s greatest track-and-field athletes, stressed on the need for the development of sporting skills from a young age. “Our school meets should not be just about manufacturing champions,” she said.
Former Indian football captain I.M. Vijayan said the State needed to have multiple tournaments. “There are no opportunities for talented footballers who are employed by various departments,” he said.
His former Indian teammate Jo Paul Ancheri pointed out there were six departmental teams in Thiruvananthapuram alone. “They train the whole year for just one tournament,” he said.
Former boxing World champion K.C. Lekha said athletes employed by the government, like her, should be allowed to give something back to the sport, rather than be made to work. “I can’t do anything related with sport now,” she said.
Former National table tennis champion Ambika Radhika said steps should be taken to promote her sport in rural areas. Shooter Elizabeth Susan Koshy invited the Minister’s attention to the under-utilised shooting range at Vattiyoorkavu in the capital. “It is world class, but it is tough to get permission from the authorities to train there,” she said.
Mayookha Johny, who holds the National record for women’s triple jump, said there should be affordable sports medicine in the State. “With better sports medicine, I could have been able to manage my injury better,” she said. “We also need to respect and reward our sports stars.”
Footballer C.K. Vineeth said the parents needed to be educated about sport. Former track-and-field athletes P. Ramachandran and Jincy Philip were also among the speakers.
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