The Khelo India Centre of Excellence in the disciplines of badminton, table tennis and swimming, inaugurated in Goa on July 15 at the Multipurpose Indoor stadium in Campal has been welcomed by all, but senior citizens and recreational players who feel they have been robbed of their early morning workout time.
Director of Sports and Youth Affairs, Ajay Gaude, told GT that the Khelo India Centre of Excellence is using the facilities at the Indoor stadium from 5.45 am to 8 am and from 4.30 pm to 7 pm. "Since students are trained by highly qualified staff, no one is allowed to use the facility during this time. The state players coached by the Sports Authority of Goa and SAI coaches are allotted the use of the stadium from 2 pm to 4.30 pm. All others who want to use the facilities for their leisure are free to during the free hours," Gaude said.
Director of Sports and Youth Affairs, Ajay Gaude
The Khelo India Centre of Excellence has Irfan Khan, formerly of the Padukone Academy, as head coach and Upendra Mulye as table tennis coach.
“The indoor stadium was built over 30 years back and apart from state players many seniors and veterans used the complex to keep themselves fit. I am not against the Khelo India Centre in Goa. I should say we are lucky to have it here. However, there should have been some fine tuning done before starting it at Campal," stated Goa Badminton Association (GBA) President Narahar Thakur.
However, Ajay Gaude suggests, “The place is open to all from 8 am to 2 pm and from 7.30 pm till 10 pm. I expect people who were using the place for leisure to adjust. This centre of excellence has been designed to nurture world champions."
Christopher Menezes, secretary of Goa Table Tennis Association (GTTA), said, “The indoor stadium is primarily for sportspeople and it should remain that way. Goa will be able to produce top-class players when they are given their space. People who use the place for recreational purposes will understand. It's just a matter of time. Such reactions are expected from people who were used to a certain pattern of timing for years."
Goa Badminton Association President, Narahar Thakur
“A lot of IAS and Central government officers deputed to Goa used the Indoor stadium in the morning before they started work. That has stopped now and we think that is why the unhappiness or noise of not being able to use the facilities,” stated a player who used the facilities prior to the start of the Khelo India Centre of Excellence.
GBA President Thakur said, "I think the government can find a way wherein all can be accommodated. The Peddem Sports Complex has sections not only for badminton and table tennis courts, but there is free space available where the government can build top-class lodging facilities for players and coaches. Plus there is plenty of space for all to exercise.”