The ball is in your court! If you want to kick off your fitness regime by training for a sport or learn a sport for kicks, there are opportunities galore to indulge yourself. The 35th National Games that was held in the capital city and its suburbs brought with it world class sports infrastructure, with options aplenty for both indoor and outdoor sporting activities. But not many know that these multi-crore facilities are open to the public round the year. Check out these places:
Jimmy George Sports Hub, Vellayambalam
It is advantage Jimmy George Indoor Stadium, rechristened the Jimmy George Sports Hub. There is basketball, volleyball, table tennis, gymnastics and martial arts at the stadium managed by the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs. “One of the most used facilities is our renovated swimming pool,” says Sanjayan Kumar, Director of Sports and Youth Affairs. The hub has a first-rate gym as well. A specialised section is Astra, the first altitude-simulated training facility in South India, which enables high altitude acclimatisation. “Sportspersons can train in low oxygen conditions prevailing in any selected high altitude at Astra, which will eventually help them to perform better in endurance sports,” adds Kumar.
Indoor Stadium, College of Agriculture, Vellayani
The stadium has facilities to play badminton, volleyball, basketball and handball, among other indoor sports. There are six badminton courts, which are open to the public from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Rs. 2,500 per hour per month, maximum eight persons). “The stadium is used for various indoor games camps by district and state-level teams. Students from nearby schools and colleges also come here for regular practice,” says T. I. Manoj, assistant professor and head, Department of Physical Education.
Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE), Karyavattam
At LNCPE, anyone can use its top-notch training facilities under the ‘Come and play’ scheme. The college offers training in 22 disciplines, including cycling, athletics, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, cricket, and hockey, to name a few, for those between the ages of eight and 18. An attraction is definitely the velodrome. “We charge Rs. 50 per month for the 'Come and play' scheme. There is a discount for those who can't afford the fee. Outstanding athletes will be given further training. We are also conducting awareness classes for parents,” says G. Kishore, principal, LNCPE.
Aquatics complex, Pirappancode
Swimmers, both beginners and experienced ones, can head to the complex that has three pools – a one-metre shallow beginners’ pool, a racing/main pool with 10 tracks and a diving pool. “Summer vacation coaching sessions are on at the moment – for children (up to age 15), for adults and for women. The rates start from Rs. 1,300. Those who want to continue with the training can register for a scheme, where they have to pay just Rs. 100 per monthfor coaching classes,” says Sasidharan Nair, administrator of the complex. Special training will be given to ‘talented’ swimmers, adds Binu George Varghese, secretary, Kerala Sports Council, which manages the complex.
The Sports Hub Trivandrum (Greenfield Stadium), Karyavattam
The first DBOT (design, build, operate and transfer) model outdoor stadium to be built in the country has already set the ball rolling to emerge as a sports hub, under the initiative of KSFL (Karyavattom Sports Facilities Ltd.) and TENVIC Sports Coaching Academy, the sports company founded by cricketer Anil Kumble and international table tennis player Vasanth Bharadwaj. Sports enthusiasts can sign up for training in nine disciplines – cricket, football, badminton, basketball, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, squash and swimming.
Squash court, Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium
With a built-up area of 30,000 square feet, it’s the state’s first squash court. It has three courts for singles and one for doubles. “Anyone can utilise the facility by taking a membership. They can opt for the one-month scheme (Rs. 3,500), yearly scheme (Rs. 25,000) or lifetime scheme (Rs. One lakh). We are planning to develop the facility into a squash academy and have already opened a gymnasium. A swimming pool is also in the works. A billiards table will also be installed at the venue,” says Subhash George, sports coordinator, Kerala Police.
Also check out…
G.V. Raja Stadium, Shanghumugham: It has badminton and table tennis courts. It costs Rs. 250 per head per hour. Clubs and other sports organisations also can host their sports events here. Contact: 2506010
Ramanathan Krishnan Tennis complex, Kumarapuram: The facility has weekly training sessions for children (three batches daily) and adults (one batch). Fee: Rs. 6,000 for six months. There is also a weekend session for children and adults. Fee: Rs. 1,500 for three months. Contact: 9446301973
Shooting range, Central Polytechnic Campus, Vattiyoorkavu: Plans are on the anvil to convert it into a sports hub. “Shooting is a specialised sport and the equipment we have is the best in the world. We will soon have an operator for the shooting sessions. Meanwhile, we plan to open a gymnasium and start other sports such as table tennis, martial arts and gymnastics and so on at the venue,” Sanjayan Kumar says.