Odisha to restructure, revamp sports hostels in state

Bhubaneswar: For holistic development of athletes, Odisha has now taken up a major restructuring and revamping of sports hostels in the State. As per plans, the Sports and Youth Services Department of Odisha government has already begun the process of restructuring and revamping its 16 residential sports hostels and is planning to introduce sports specific hostels.

The objective is to restructure the allocation of sports disciplines across hostels and nurture trainees of a particular sport, under defined age groups, at one location, thereby enhancing the scope for more competitive and collaborative learning, leading to the holistic development of an athlete, an official release read.

At present multi-disciplinary sports hostels across 11 disciplines cater to trainees from the State in the age group of 9-25 years leading to a scattered talent pool.

Official sources said this one sports discipline per hostel, model will restructure the allocation of sports disciplines among sports hostels and develop each hostel into a specialised centre for a specific sport, with appropriate cluster of athletes, adequate infrastructure for accommodation, coaching and training.

The hostels have been matched with their respective Sport basis its popularity in the region or district, presence of rural talent in that discipline and the availability of relevant infrastructure.

Owing to a robust sports infrastructure and related facilities, Sports Hostels in Bhubaneswar, Sundergarh and Berhampur will continue to operate as multi-disciplinary training hubs.

The Sports and Youth Services Department will also reduce the sanctioned capacity of the hostels from 1250 to 913 and focus on training the athletes below 18 years only. However, in some cases, sports persons above 18 years in individual sports disciplines, will be provided hostel facility, basis assessment of their performance and prospect of winning medals in the national and international sporting events. The Department will also support sports persons above 18 years with frequent specialized coaching camps.

In the same line of restructuring, now, Panposh Sports Hostel will be exclusively for Boys in field hockey and Sundergarh Sports Hostel will train Girls.

Sports infrastructure and related facilities at both the locations will be upgraded as per international standards to accommodate competitive nature of training to enhance performance of the athlete trainees. Sundergarh which is the ‘Cradle of Hockey’ will continue to produce world class hockey players for the country.

“With this restructuring, we aim to create a perfect training ground and develop and strengthen our sports ecosystem, in the core of which lie these Sports Hostels, from where ‘players of tomorrow’ emerge. This would provide focused training and support for the athletes at beginner and intermediate level to graduate to a senior or elite level. Our hostels will be the pool of talent for the High Performance Centres,” said Sports Minister, Tusharkanti Behera.

Secretary Sports, Odisha, Vishal K Dev said, “We have been toying with this idea for a while. The lull period due to the Covid-19 pandemic gave us an opportunity to reassess our priorities especially for grassroots. This mechanism will ensure efficient use of districts’ infrastructure and maximise appropriate funds utilization and introduce efficient monitoring system. It will also bring a positive change in athletes and make for stronger sports programmes.”

Dev further stated that, “This is also in line with the thinking and efforts of Sports Authority of India (SAI) in restructuring their national training institutes to create medal winners in the future. We have deliberated with SAI and our stakeholders and are confident that this model, going further, will benefit the trainees and create a talent pathway for the aspiring players and also provide an opportunity for specialized coaches.

An integrated comprehensive curriculum of sports and academics, at these State run hostels, is also planned to facilitate the overall skill and personality development of an athlete.

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