ALAPPUZHA: Kerala will be eligible to conduct Asian Games if it can successfully host the National Games in 2010, Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar has said.
Speaking at a meeting called to constitute a district-level welcome committee for the National Games here on Thursday, Mr. Vijayakumar said preparations were in progress for the games, which the State was proposing to host in seven districts.
The condition of sports infrastructure in the State was far from satisfactory and the aim of hosting the games was to improve it and put in place a system so that the State could host any international sporting event.
He said the State had three goals in connection with the National Games — to host the best edition of the National Games, to attain first position in the event and to accomplish whatever was necessary to host sporting events of any stature.
The State, which had already submitted to the Centre projects worth Rs.220 crore out of the Rs.500-crore proposal for the games, was aiming to host the games in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Kollam, Kozhikode, Kannur and Thrissur. Usually, the host State would get at least three years to prepare for the games, but Kerala had less than a year, he said.
This, he said, was a big challenge. Requests had been made to the Centre to include the State’s unique sporting events like Kalaripayattu and snakeboat race in the games. If these could not be included, they would be showcased as exhibition items, he said.
The Minister, who promised a 600-bed sports hostel and renovation of the Water Sports Complex here, handed over a cheque of Rs.1 crore for completing the work at the Alappuzha Municipal Stadium before visiting the stadium site.
District Collector Mini Antony, State Sports Council president T.P. Dasan, District Sports Council president Saji Cherian, P.C. Vishnunath, MLA, district panchayat president R. Nazar and others were present.