The Sports Ministry is set to establish 1000 Khelo India Centres (KIC) at the district level across the country with the help of sporting champions, who will be remunerated for providing their expertise.
The centres will either be run by a past champion or have them as a coach. "As we strive to make India a sporting superpower, one of the things we have to ensure is that sports becomes a viable career option for youngsters," Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said in a statement. "Only when sports can offer a sustained means of livelihood to athletes, even after they stop playing competitive sports, will parents be motivated to allow their children to take up sports as a serious career option And that is the only way to tap the best talent, who may otherwise decide to take up other career options. This decision is a step in that direction."
A short-listing mechanism has been put in place to identify former 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. While 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.
To build the country-wide network of Khelo India Centres, existing SAI extension centres will be given the option of converting into a KIC and recruiting a past champion to avail the financial grant under the scheme. Any past champion can also establish a new KIC with infrastructure owned by themselves, the central and state government, local authorities, clubs or educational institution. To be eligible for grant under the scheme, the former athlete will be required to personally impart full-time training to athletes at the centre.
Organisations which have been promoting sports for at least five years will also be eligible to establish a KIC, provided they recruit past champions as coaches. Organisations in J&K, Ladakh, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadeep and north east states are exempt from this 5-year rule.
Training will be imparted at KIC for 14 sports 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.