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Push for new watercourse

Jan. 16: The Assam Boat Racing and Rowing Association has proposed to revive the Deepor Beel watercourse project here to promote aquatic sport as well as tourism.

Disclosing this here today, the association’s president A.K. Absar Hazarika said it would move the Centre through the state government with a detailed project report very soon for the funds to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure for the watercourse.

The project was initiated during the process of infrastructure development for the 33rd National Games, held here in 2007, but abandoned midway and Charon Beel in Morigaon district was used for the mega event. The ideal watercourse for rowing is 2.3km and it could be a minimum of 800 metres.

“We have got abundant talent potential in aquatic sport like rowing, canoeing, kayaking and boat racing. Our rowers are not only shining at the national level but have also made the cut to national squads. But we lack a proper watercourse to groom them in the right perspective. We have been using the Dighalipukhuri with its various limitations for the past 18 years and are doing without trained coaches. If we can provide infrastructure and proper training, I am sure our players will bring laurels for the nation in the international arena,” Hazarika said.

“People cannot afford to send their children to train somewhere far away from the city because of their studies and other logistic constraints. I am sure, proper infrastructure coupled with sufficient equipment and trained coaches, will make the sport one of the most sought-after disciplines in the city,” he said.

The endorsement for his claim of talent potential came with the selection of four girls from Assam — Banani Das, Anangcha Das, Nafisa Sadiq and Shreyanshi Kashyap — among 33 for the national junior camp to be held from February 4.

Apart from the quartet’s performance at various national events during the last year, Assam boys Akash Deep Rajkhowa and Ridhwaan Azeem also bagged a bronze for the state in the 15th sub-junior nationals last year.

Hazarika said the Deepor Beel venue was abandoned ahead of the National Games after wildlife organisations objected to firing of start guns as it could scare birds away from the sanctuary.

“We are going to organise the 3rd inter-district rowing championship from January 25 to 27 which we will have to hold in the 250-metre Dighalipukhuri as we don’t have an alternative. We had tried the Brahmaputra watercourses earlier but these are not ideal because of the undercurrent. Besides, we cannot afford to transport the equipment to other venues because these are expensive and any damage cannot be afforded. We don’t have an extra set of equipment in the state,” he said.

Hazarika said the detailed project report would comprise a 2.3km watercourse, boathouse and equipment as well as beautification of the arena to attract tourists.