By Our Sports Reporter
IMPHAL, Jun 16 : Secretary of Manipur Hockey, Seram Neken has drawn the attention of Youth Affairs and Sports Minister and the Chief Minister to look into the matter of opening of 16 Khelo India Centres, one each for one sports discipline in every district of the State under the Khelo India Scheme.
Speaking to media persons on behalf of players and officials of apex controlling bodies of Archery, Athletics, Hockey, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling disciplines here at the conference hall of Manipur Olympic Association, Seram Neken expressed strong exception to the opening process of 16 Khelo India Centres and urged all concerned to stop the 'biased' allocation or distribution of the centres.
The announcement for setting up of 16 KICs as a part of 1000 such centres planned for opening by the Sports Ministry across the Country is praiseworthy but it is very unfortunate on the part of the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports to open 7 centres for football, 4 for badminton and 1 each for boxing, rowing, fencing, cycling and Judo while ignoring other main 8 Olympic Disciplines.
The State has seen and is producing promising and world class athletes in Archery, Athletics, Hockey, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling disciplines and thus impartial allocation of the centres and equal thrust to the disciplines is very much required to produce more Olympians, he suggested.
Questioning as to why only a few select sports disciplines were approved for opening, Seram Neken also asked why apex bodies of sports were not consulted at the time of sending proposals and allocating disciplines to each district.
The apparent partisanship, 'whimsical approach' of few officials and their disregard for other Olympic disciplines is extremely disheartening, he said while urging all concerned to incorporate more disciplines and revised the opening of the centres.
If partiality continues even in the opening of such important centres aimed at ensuring availability of grassroots-level infrastructure, it will only discredit and diminish the image of Manipur which is touted as the 'sports powerhouse'.
It will also hamper India's endeavour of becoming one of the top 10 Nations in the 2028 Olympics and future Olympics, he said while urging the Youth Affairs and Sports Minister and the Chief Minister to intervene and review the process with due consultation of apex sporting bodies of the State.