Visakhapatnam: The state government is all set to launch six sports academies in the Port City from this academic year and is now searching for suitable accommodation to house about 150 to 200 students. As part of its plan to give a fillip to sporting activity, the academies to be started by the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh will initially focus on six sports such as boxing, football, gymnastics, swimming, archery and cycling.
According to sources, the decision to start the academies was taken at a recent meeting of SAAP. Incidentally, Vizag had a swimming academy and one for shuttle badminton but both of them ended up getting shot down. While the port city will host academies for the six sports mentioned above, SAAP proposes to set up two shuttle badminton sports academies in Vijayawada and Nellore respectively.
After bifurcation of the state, the new TDP government increased the annual budget allocation for sports from a meagre Rs 25 crore to Rs. 200 crore. “For the past one year, the SAAP board has been pressuring the state government to open academies and the efforts are now turning into a reality. The details of the academies and their locations will be officially announced soon,” SAAP chairman PR Mohan told TOI.
Apart from opening sports academies, SAAP will utilise the existing playing grounds of well equipped colleges and schools across the state and promote sporting activity in a big way, he added.
The sources said the SAAP board meeting board meeting held on June 28 had passed a resolution for the opening of academies and also set a deadline of July 15 for the state government to give its approval for the same. As a follow up action, SAAP board members are to hold discussions with sports minister Kinjarapu Acchennaidu in Vijayawada on Thursday, they added.
According to the sources, SAAP authorities are in plans to request the Vizag Steel Plant and GVMC to allow usage of their sports premises as well as the vacant quarters as accommodation for the players. On the training of players, the services of the Sports Authority of India (SAI)will be roped in, said the sources.