Focus on young talent: CM

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JUST REWARD: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan hands over a cash award of Rs. 3 lakh to footballer N.P. Pradeep.
JUST REWARD: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan hands over a cash award of Rs. 3 lakh to footballer N.P. Pradeep.

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Wednesday urged the sports community to focus its attention on identifying young talent and training them to achieve success at the international level.

Speaking at the sports awards function arranged to felicitate sportspersons who had brought laurels to the State at the 33rd National Games in Guwahati, the SAF Games in Colombo and National and international events in 2003-04, Mr. Achuthanandan said this was the need of the hour to sustain Kerala’s impressive achievements in the sports arena through the years.

The Chief Minister hoped that the introduction of sports into the education syllabus and the implementation of the total physical fitness programme, which the Government intended to inaugurate shortly, would add fillip to the efforts of streamlining the sports scenario.

Mr. Achuthanandan also sounded hopeful of the Indian Olympic Association allotting the 35th National Games to Kerala when he said that the event would provide an excellent opportunity to upgrade the infrastructure facilities in the State.

The Government, he said, would provide all possible help to bring about the most modern facilities in the State if the National Games were awarded to Kerala.

Cash awards

The Chief Minister presented footballers N.P. Pradeep, who scored the winning goal for India in the recent Nehru Cup, and K. Ajayan, member of the winning team, with a cheque of Rs. 3 lakh and Rs. 1 lakh respectively besides giving away cash prizes to prominent members of the Kerala contingent for the Guwahati National Games.

The Education Minister, M.A. Baby, was the guest of the honour at the function.

In his presidential address, the Sports Minister, M. Vijayakumar, outlined the various schemes which were being readied for implementation with the aim of bringing about an overall development in the Kerala sports scene.

The Minister also announced that the cash awards for winners in the National and international events, pertaining to 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07, would be distributed soon.

In all, Rs. 2 crore was distributed to 242 sportspersons who won medals in the Guwahati Games, 44 in the SAF Games in Colombo, and 528 in the various National and international events held in 2003-04.

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