Special Games Area in Shillong by March-April next year

Updated: Oct 10, 2012, 18:17 PM IST

Shillong: Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday directed officials of the Sports Authority of India to complete the Special Games Area Centre here within March-April next year.

"I have directed officials that the deadline should not be extended and that I will inaugurate the project on my next visit to the state," Maken said about the SGAC, India`s second high altitude centre, which was earlier scheduled for completion in September-October last year.

Maken inspected the project which was taken up in 2002 at a cost of Rs 43 crore and of which Rs 29 crore has been released by the Centre.

"The sports centre in NEHU will be a game-changer in the region which will not only benefit youths from the state, but will also cater to neighbouring states in the northeast," he said.

Hoping that the centre would be utilised to the optimum, he said, "We are aiming to produce young talented youths from the NE who will represent the country by 2020."

The minister also said that there was a need to set up a sports science centre in the region for which funds required would be sanctioned.

"If you want to do well in different levels of competition, you need a sports science centre which will be equipped with best coaches," he said.

Admitting that lack of coaches was a major concern, Maken said that the government would recruit 200 of them.

"We are giving first preference to athletes who have represented the country in the Olympics but they will need a diploma or degree," he said.

"Once these 200 coaches are in place the shortage problem will be over."

Stating that the country did not have a coach training centre, the minister said, "We are proposing to set up a National Centre for Coach Training in Patiala where we will have the best faculties from across the world.

"Once we have good quality of coaches we will no longer depend on foreign coaches."

He also said that The Planning Commission has agreed to increase the allocation for promoting and development of sports in the 12th plan, an increase of 60-70 per cent.