Principal Correspondent

KOCHI: Olympian Mercy Kuttan’s new athletics academy, which was officially launched at the Sacred Heart School Hall here on Thursday, got a big boost at the opening function. The Kerala Government has given it the status of a sports hostel.

“We’re giving the Mercy Kuttan Athletics Academy the status of a sports hostel right now,” said State Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar shortly after doing the opening honours with Education Minister M.A. Baby.

“We’ve creating a mass sports awareness movement in Kerala, in fact, we are leading the country in this regard with various sports schemes.”

Later, speaking on the sidelines of the function, Kerala State Sports Council President T.P. Dasan said the sports hostel status would give the academy an annual grant from the State Government apart from other allowances and kits for the trainees.

“We are very happy, this is what we had wanted,” said a thrilled Mercy Kuttan, the former Asian Games long jump silver medallist, who is the academy’s chairperson and coach. Her husband Murali Kuttan, the 1978 Asian Games 400m bronze medallist, is the other coach at the centre.

Mr. Baby said if the Government and private centres worked together, it would boost sports in a big way.

“There are certain things a Government can do, certain things it cannot do. But if we work together with centres like these, we can do great things,” said Mr, Baby. “Along with the Government help, the guru-disciple relationship will produce results.”

Mr. Dasan presided over the function and Mr. E. S. Jose welcomed the gathering. The Kerala Athletics Association President Baby Mathew, Kerala Olympic Association President M.M. Abdul Rahiman, Kerala Cricket Association Secretary T.C. Mathew, the Sacred Heart College and School Manager Fr. Paulose Kidangen and badminton Arjuna Awardee George Thomas were among those who spoke at the function.

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