Bengaluru

A sports city opens doors to the champions of tomorrow

Inviting talent: The football field at the Padukone-Dravid Centre.

Inviting talent: The football field at the Padukone-Dravid Centre.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Sprawling Bengaluru venture is guided by Padukone, Dravid

Vivek Kumar named his 15-acre sporting facility on Bengaluru’s outskirts after two accomplished athletes. The Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence that he opened is a kind of tribute to them and is on the road to producing more champions.

“I’ve known Prakash [Padukone] for a very long time; he is a special sportsperson. Rahul [Dravid] is my junior from St. Joseph’s College of Commerce. We knew each other. I wanted both of them to have a special role in this,” says Mr. Kumar, who has promoted the venture.

16 badminton courts

When it formally opened in December, the ₹50 crore Centre for Sports Excellence (CSE) located north of the city, about 20 minutes from the airport, boasted a full-sized football pitch, a 10-lane Olympic-sized swimming pool, 16 badminton courts, squash, tennis and basketball courts, a cricket ground, indoor and outdoor nets, and a state-of-the-art sports science centre.

The Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) has moved in, as has Dolphin Aquatics, run by veteran swimming coach Nihar Ameen. The football field, now a year old, is used by multiple academies and hosted the National U-13 Youth League. The Sports Authority of India-Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance Centre, a top rehabilitation, fitness and sports science facility, has a cryotherapy chamber. The Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust has rent-free access for 10 years, with chosen SAI athletes using services free. The venture helps coaches who don’t have the infrastructure. “For example,” says Mr. Kumar, “the PPBA used five courts between 10 and 5 (on its old premises). I’m sure we could have produced more champions if we had the courts from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.”

A former three-time State men’s badminton champion, Vivek co-founded the PPBA nearly 25 years ago.

Mr. Padukone and Mr. Dravid then joined the CSE as co-chairmen of the board of advisers.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 6:37:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/a-sports-city-opens-doors-to-the-champions-of-tomorrow/article22791856.ece

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