Claiming that gymnasts from the state have done well in the national and international tournaments, the Maharashtra Amateur Gymnastic Association (MAGA) on Tuesday requested the sports ministry to allot a National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) for the sport here.
“The sports ministry has launched National Centre of Excellence scheme to groom players for bigger competitions. Maharashtra has dominated gymnastics in the past years. Be it the school national games, national games or the Khelo India, Maharashtra gymnasts have remained in the top three of the medal tally,” MAGA secretary Makrand Joshi told PTI.
“Then on what basis our state (Maharashtra) is not considered for NCOE. Our question remains unanswered even after months of writing a letter to sports minister Kiren Rijiju and Sports Authority of India (SAI)?” asked Joshi, who is also a technical committee member of the Asian Gymnastics Union (Aerobic Gymnastics).
He said the only training centre in the state, located inside the Aurangabad SAI centre, has been shut down. “The city has proved its hold in gymnastics and the centre here is being shut down now. This is not right. We demand that the training centre in Aurangabad SAI should run as it was earlier. The Centre should allot NCOE for gymnastics here (in Aurangabad) as there are existing facilities. Also there are a lot of players who hail from the city,” added Joshi.
When contacted, Virendra Bhandarkar, Deputy Director of SAI in Aurangabad, said that there were six priority games included in NCOE for Aurangabad – athletics, archery, fencing, hockey, boxing and weightlifting.
“The games excluded from this centre are handball, gymnastic, taekwondo, judo, football, volleyball, kabaddi. However, we have requested higher authorities to consider one or two more games under NCOE in Aurangabad on the basis of available facilities, talent, and popularity in Maharashtra,” added Bhandarkar.