‘The wind, tide, and sea conditions are of international standards, but political will is lacking to create essential infrastructure’

Nature has endowed Visakhapatnam with beautiful beaches, a 30-km-long marine drive from Naval Coast Battery to Bheemunipatnam, and the “perfect” wind and wave conditions to convert the city into an international water sports destination.

“I have visited water sports destinations in various countries across the world. The wind, tide, and sea conditions in Vizag are on par with the best in the world. The beaches of Visakhapatnam are far superior to those in Chennai for promotion of water sports,” Capt. Ajay Narang, technical adviser to the Yachting Association of India (YAI), told The Hindu.

Referring to the absence of even a single participant from the city in the Yachting Team Selections being held at Rushikonda for the Asian Games 2014, Capt. Narang attributed it to the lack of infrastructure to promote water sports.

“The foremost thing that is required is the extension of the breakwaters to provide safety to the boats. Political will is lacking to complement the natural facilities by creating necessary infrastructure,” he said.

ENC support

“Vizag has a good number of star hotels, international air connectivity, and other facilities that could take care of the accommodation to visiting players and coaches during international competitions. The Eastern Naval Command is providing the logistics and administrative support, and this is another advantage for promoting Vizag,” Capt. Narang, who had served as joint secretary of YAI in the past, said.

There are two features of water sports like yachting — competitions and leisure sport — and Vizag can play host to both the versions. A number of film producers are going to Mauritius to shoot water sports, and when those facilities are developed in Vizag, they can as well shoot those scenes here and save a lot on production cost.

There are a good number of high net-worth individuals in the city who can buy the expensive boats, but there are no facilities to park them. There is awareness of water sports, but when infrastructure is lacking one does not think on those lines. Once the facilities are created, Vizag can also churn out a good number of players at the national and international levels. The YAI is ready to provide the technical assistance for developing infrastructure.

“We will also suggest to the government to conduct international competitions here,” he said.

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