After a heated discussion about when Goa would be prepared for the National Games, Goa’s Sports Minister, Govind Gaude, said that Goa would be ready to host the oft-delayed 36th edition of the National Games in December 2022. Last week, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) wrote to the government of Goa and asked if they were ready to host the National Games by September this year. To which, Gaude replied in just two days saying, “The state will be requiring another six months to prepare the infrastructure.”
The Sports Minister said that the U-17 FIFA Women's World Cup 2022 was slated for October, and infrastructure for that would be ready by August. “For hosting a big sporting event, like the National Games, we'll be requiring some more days to put infrastructure into place. Commencement of the monsoons and upcoming festivals could further delay the preparations. Goa will be ready to host the National Games in December, If center given the chance,” he claimed.
The 36 th National Games allotted to Goa, which were scheduled to be held from October 20, 2020 to November 4, 2020 were postponed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Central assistance of Rs 97.80 crore has been released to the Government of Goa for the development of sports infrastructure for the National Games. According to the information given by Goa Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant, in the State Assembly last year, the government of Goa has already spent Rs 450 crore on building sports infrastructure, while Rs 150 crore has been kept aside for the successful conduct of the National Games.
In 2008, the 36 th National Games were allotted to Goa, which was expected to hold the sporting event in 2011. Goa had time span of 14 years to prepare for the event. Unfortunately, the state is not yet prepared. In fact, not much attention has been given to developing the sports infrastructure in the state, which has resulted in embarrassment at the national level.
“The 35th edition of the National Games were held in Kerala in 2015. Seven years have passed since then, which is the longest gap for the National Games,” the Indian Olympic Association pointed out in a letter to the state. After Goa, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya are in the queue to host the National Games.
Meanwhile, Gaude has demanded a 2 percent reservation of government jobs for sportspersons who represented Goa on the national and international stage.