| Sportspersons outside the Sports Authority of India building at Moin-ul-Haq stadium on Sunday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Forget a career in kabaddi. Plan one in taekwondo, or maybe wushu.
In a severe blow to budding kabaddi, volleyball, basketball players and even the world’s most popular sport, football, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided to discontinue these disciplines in its Patna centre from April 1. However, less popular, but individual games such as wushu and taekwondo have been left untouched and will continue as usual.
While football, kabaddi and volleyball are covered under the residential scheme, basketball comes under the non-residential scheme. In the residential scheme, players are given training in various disciplines with free accommodation and food.
Kumar Vijay, the president of the JD(U)’s sports wing, said: “The SAI, New Delhi, has issued a letter on February 11, stating that training provided to players in the four games would be discontinued from April 1. Incidentally, only SAI, Patna, offers residential support to kabaddi players in the eastern region.”
The SAI, Patna, has 60 cadets. Rajeev Kumar Singh, a member of the gold-winning Indian kabaddi team in the 2006 Doha Asian Games, is a product of the Patna centre.
The sudden decision — reason behind it is still not clear — left players at the Patna centre a worried lot. Ramanuj Yadav, a kabaddi player from Buxar district, said: “All of us — nine kabaddi players — are confused about our career prospects.”
Ramanuj, who has represented Bihar in Junior National Kabaddi Tournament in Madarui (Tamil Nadu) in December 2012, said: “The centre has produced many players of national and international repute in kabaddi and volleyball. If the centre is closed, it would be an injustice to budding players.”
However, the SAI, Patna, centre in-charge, B.S. Dhillon, said: “Till now, my office has not received any letter from SAI, New Delhi, about discontinuing the four sports disciplines. But I have heard about this from various sources.”
A volleyball player at SAI, Patna, said on condition of anonymity: “These disciplines are group events and SAI claims that the centre does not have requisite infrastructure for running these games.”
The Patna centre was opened with SAI centres in Muzaffarpur and Kishanganj in 2000 on the initiatives of then art, culture and sports minister Shahnawaz Hussain.