Sports Ministry to set up 20 national centres of excellence

Each centre will be earmarked for four to six specific sports, depending on the infrastructure available and will train athletes in the developmental group for the 2024 Olympics.

Kiren Rijiju: "Standardising the training on campus will enable athletes to attain much higher performances in their respective sport."   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The Union Sports Ministry will set up 20 National Centres of Excellence (NCE), which will have the distinction of having a single scheme running in them for elite athletes. The move is aimed at ending differentiation in training and other facilities between athletes within the same campus.

According to Sports Authority of India, each Centre of Excellence will be earmarked for four to six specific sports, depending on the infrastructure available and will train athletes in the developmental group for the 2024 Olympics.

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The scheme will ensure that athletes in the same premises have access to similar facilities. The decision comes just a few months after it was announced that the budget for the diet of athletes will be made equal, irrespective of the level at which the athlete is training.

While the National Center of Excellence will be reserved for athletes training for Olympics, grassroots level athletes will be trained at other SAI facilities and moved to NCE depending on performance and possibility of an Olympic medal. The two-tier training system will ensure that at both levels athletes get focused training.

The 20 SAI facilities that have been identified as National Centre of Excellence include, SAI centres in Patiala, Trivandrum, Chandigarh, Sonepat, Lucknow, Guwahati, Imphal, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Gandhinagar, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi, Indira Gandhi Stadium, Delhi,  Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi, Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, Delhi, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookherjee Swimming Pool Complex, Delhi, National Water Sports Academy (Khelo India), Alleppey, National Boxing Academy (Khelo India), Rohtak, National Wrestling Academy (Khelo India), Aurangabad.

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On the decision, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “Standardising the training on campus will enable athletes to attain much higher performances in their respective sport. When athletes of the same level train at a centre and the facilities are made exclusively available to them, they will train better and results will show. We are working in close co-ordination with NSFs to ensure a smooth transition of our existing facilities into National Centre of Excellence and to identify more centres.”