In a move to tap into the expertise of past sporting champions for grassroot-level training of athletes and also to ensure a sustained source of income for them in the sports ecosystem, the Sports Ministry has decided to establish 1000 Khelo India Centres (KIC) at the district level across the country.
These centres will either be run by a past champion or have them as coaches. A shortlisting mechanism has been put in place to identify past champions who are eligible to either establish their own academy or work as a coach in a KIC.
The first category of athletes who will be considered are those who have represented India at recognised international competitions under a recognised NSF or association.
The second category is of medal winners in Senior National Championship conducted by a recognised NSF or a medal winner at the Khelo India Games.
The third category of past champions are those who have won medals in the National All India University Games.
The fourth category will include those who have represented the state in a senior National Championship conducted by recognised NSFs or participated in Khelo India Games.
An exception has been made in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar islands and Ladakh, where coaches trained with NIS certification will also be eligible to apply.
Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “This decision is a step in that direction. We want to ensure that anyone who has played sport at the national level has a life of dignity and financial stability.”
Training will be imparted at the KICs in 14 Identified Sports for Excellence in Olympics (ISEO) including archery, athletics, boxing, badminton, cycling, fencing, hockey, judo, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling. Football and traditional sports have also been included.
The grant to each KIC will be extended for remuneration of the past champion athlete as coach, support staff, purchase of equipments, sports kits, consumables, participation in competition and events.
The process of identifying new KICs will be carried out by the sports department of the respective state and union territory in liaison with district collectors and the proposal will be forwarded to the SAI’s regional centre for further evaluation. During the current financial year, 100 KICs are planned to be established.