Sports Ministry to establish 1000 district-level Khelo India Centres

A short-listing mechanism has been put in place to identify former champions who are eligible to either establish their own academy or work as a coach.

Kiren Rijiju

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju during a media interaction.   -  Getty Images

After deciding to set up Khelo India State Centres of Excellence, the Sports Ministry has now planned to extend its support to grassroots sports by establishing 1000 district-level Khelo India Centres (KIC) that would be helmed by former sportspersons, starting with 100 in the current financial year.

These centres would either be run by a past champion on their own or co-opt them as coaches, ensuring a livelihood for former sportspersons and including them in India’s sporting development. However, the sportspersons would have to personally be involved in imparting full-time training at the centre to avail government grant.

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The shortlisted former players have been divided into four categories — those who have represented India at recognised international competitions under a recognised NSF or association; medallists at Khelo India Games/National Championships of a recognised NSF; medallists at University Games; participants at KIG/Nationals. NIS-certified coaches from Jammu & Kashmir, Andaman &Nicobar Islands and Ladakh would also be eligible.

“Only when sports can offer a sustained means of livelihood to athletes even after they stop playing will parents be motivated to allow their children to take up sports as a career. This decision is a step in that direction,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said.

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Financial grant would include remunerations, purchase of equipment, sports kits, consumables and participation in competitions in archery, athletics, boxing, badminton, cycling, fencing, hockey, judo, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling, football and traditional sports.