Indoor cricket stadium mooted in city

HYDERABAD, JUNE 1. Proposals for a world-class indoor cricket stadium in the vicinity of the Swarnaandhra Pradesh Sports Complex at Gachibowli, venue of the 2002 National Games and the 2003 Afro-Asian Games, are under active consideration by the State Government, according to G. Ashok Kumar, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh.

A detailed brochure of how the project, said to be the only one of its kind in the country, will be carried out was submitted just before the general elections by a team from the Chennai-based GMR Group, which also included the former Indian test cricketer, T.A. Sekhar. Interestingly, the State Government need not spend anything. Its role is confined to allotting a suitable site of three acres and there will be no extra burden on the State ex-chequer. The GMR Group has promised to bear the complete expenditure, which according to initial estimates is about Rs. 5 crores.

It is also being pointed out that the State will not have a problem finding the land for the project, since the idea of shifting the Andhra Pradesh Sports School from Hakimpet was dropped and the 21 acres had already been identified for it.

The final decision on the indoor cricket stadium had been delayed because of the elections but it is now believed that once the proposals are re-submitted before the new Government, things may move at the desired pace. The top brass also points out that since it doesn't require any investment from the Government side at all, there is every likelihood of the proposal being cleared.

Summer camps shifted

Meanwhile, the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh has also embarked on a bold and innovative concept of shifting residential summer coaching camps in some disciplines to the sports complex at Gachibowli.

Athletics, hockey, archery, swimming, shooting (at the nearby shooting range in Central University) and carrom are being taken up in a big way.

The Sports Authority of India coach, N. Madhukaran, pointed out that the response was beyond their own expectations as about 40 boys lined up for the hockey camp from all over the State. One look at the beaming faces of the hockey stick-wielding kids was enough to show that it was a dream-come-true for them.

Similar was the case with carrom. The State Sports Authority is the first in the country to completely bear the total expenditure (in this case Rs. 68,000 for the 16 new sets including carrom boards costing Rs. 2500 each) for the three-week residential camp, the officials say.

Facilities at the GMC Balayodi stadium are to be seen to be believed. The sprawling hall on the first floor and the accommodation on the ground floor with a doctor and a vehicle for round-the-clock attendance are something which most of the senior sportspersons could not even have dreamt of.

Mr. Ashok Kumar appealed to budding stars to make optimum use of the facilities even while pointing out that SAAP was determined to ensure a continuity in training and the process will not end with these camps in which 124 boys and girls from all over the State are attending with 11 coaches monitoring their training sessions. "I will personally ensure that there will be no bias or favouritism or quota system in selection to the SAAP Academies or in the SAI Sports Training Centres in the State and the performances of the trainees will be under close scrutiny," he assured them.