Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association (HPOA) announced support for 13 sporting disciplines by offering to provide coaches with contractual terms and grant incentives for sportsperson with outstanding performances at national levels.
Secretary general HPOA Anurag Thakur let reporters here know that the association would be seeking applications from coaches or former players to take up three year contractual assignments to train a pool of talented sports persons in Himachal.
He said that in all 40 coaches are sought to be engaged for the disciplines of hockey, football, volleyball, table tennis, boxing, athletics, wrestling, shooting, taekwondo, weight-lifting, judo and kabbadi.
The association intends to promote these disciplines with a yearly budget of Rs 50 lakhs of which Rs 24 lakhs would be for the coaches, he said.
Thakur, who also happens to be president of HP Cricket Association, said that the budget would be raised through donations from corporate houses and HPCA would contribute Rs 10 lakhs towards it.
Citing the example of HPCA, he said that when he took over as the president in 2000, the state cricket association had a budget of Rs 20 lakhs which today is Rs 28 crore.
Advocating commercialization of other sporting disciplines, he said the Dharmshala cricket stadium had an asset value of over Rs 200 crore.
Dharmshala Cricket Stadium A Hallmark of Himachal Identity
The stadium in scenic environs which has become a hallmark of Himachalâ€™s identity in the sporting arena has been constructed after incurring an expenditure of Rs 100 crore, he said.
But Dharmshala faced infrastructure constraints in terms of high end hotels and a larger airport.
Terming the Dharmshala stadium as an tourism asset, he said, â€œthe three upcoming IPL matches to be played on 15th, 17th and 21st May at Dharmshala will showcase the state to an glued TV audience of about 60 crore and will leave an impression on the viewer much more than what all the advertising budget of the government can.
Army illegally occupying Annadale Ground
Drawing attention to Annadale Ground in Shimla, he said that Himachal has potential for having two of the best cricket grounds in the country but the army was not vacating what is essentially government property.
He said that the Eden Gardens ground in Kolkatta and Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore at one point of time was also occupied by the army, but today the large cities are identified with these stadiums.
The government and the people need to work together for getting the ground vacated from the army.
â€œFirst one needs to find out, who all play golf out there, an activity for which the Annadale ground was not intended in the first place, said Thakur.