Union Minister for Sports M.S. Gill on Tuesday made an unannounced visit to the Sports Authority of India’s Water Sports Centre (WSC) situated in the middle of the scenic Vembanad Lake here.

Accompanied by his wife and grand-daughter along with SAI director G. Kishore, State Secretary (Sports and Youth Affairs) U.K.S. Chauhan and WSC in-charge G.S. Nair among others, Mr. Gill reached the Centre on a houseboat, which was piloted to the Centre from the Punnamada Finishing Point by a group of trainee rowers from the WSC and speed boats of the police.

Mr. Gill, who went around the Centre, inspecting the facilities and interacting with the staff, then spent almost an hour chatting with the trainee students.

Enquiring on how their studies were going on, Mr. Gill said he was happy that the students were already bringing in medals from international events.

He also exhorted them to raise their standards, quipping that even at this age, he could easily beat them since he too was a rower in his younger days.

Talking to the media later, Mr. Gill said the SAI WSC had an important part in the country’s sports schemes. The country had many states that were connected to water and the facilities for improving standards in water sporting events should be utilized.

Adding that the visit was a learning experience for him, Mr. Gill refused to be drawn into comments on the recent episode involving former Kerala athlete P.T. Usha during the National Open Athletics Meet in Bhopal. However, he said an enquiry was on and that Ms. Usha had personally met him after the incident.

The Union Minister later enjoyed a houseboat trip along with his family.

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