Special Correspondent

KANNUR: Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs M. Vijayakumar has said that sports infrastructure in the State will be upgraded as part of the preparations for the 35th National Games.

“All sports infrastructure facilities will be upgraded as part of the National Games with the objective of equipping them for being used for any major future sports events in the State,” he said at a press conference on Sunday after chairing a meeting to constitute an organising committee for the basketball and wrestling events of the National Games scheduled to be held here.

Terming the upcoming National Games as a major event in the sports history of the State, he said preparing athletes in the State to win in the National Games was as important as successful holding of the national sports event in the State. An elaborate project had been prepared for organising the National Games successfully. A Rs.220-crore project had been submitted for upgrading the facilities. It included Rs.60 crore as aid from the Sports Authority of India for improving the facilities. The Union government’s assistance was also expected, he said adding that the State government had earmarked in the budget an annuity scheme of Rs.235 crore for organising the event.

The government had decided to develop the proposed Sports Complex at Mundayad here with all modern facilities. A plot of 6.55 hectare had been transferred to the Sports Department for the complex. An indoor stadium for hosting basketball and wrestling events (both men and women) of the National Games would be built at Kakkad here, he said.

As part of the preparations for achieving victory in the National Games, the State government had started coaching programmes under the leadership of Olympian Suresh Babu. The government was also planning to invite foreign coaches for training the athletes. A Kerala Games, ahead of the National Games, was also under consideration.

To a question, the Minister said the government was also planning to change the existing system of participants for the international school meet being selected from the Education Department alone. The sports associations concerned should take the initiative to redress grievances and complaints, he said.

The government was considering proposals in the Sports Commission report for exploring the State’s sports skills, he said.. An expert committee had been constituted to submit a report on the State’s football sector by July 31.