Nagaland Sports Coaches Association calls for system overhaul; wants involvement of NIC coaches in policy-making
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Nov. 26 (EMN): Sports facility available in a state is normally a pointer to development paving way for sportspersons, and those with potentials, to grow. The availability of sports facility works in the advantage of a sportsperson and, by extension, the state.
However the lack of sports facility and the system of functioning in Nagaland have curtailed sportspersons which is also responsible for the state’s poor participation at sporting events in the regional or the national level.
Voicing concern over the declining situation of sports and sportsperson in the state, the Nagaland Sports Coaches Association (NSCA) on Sunday addressed a press conference on Sunday at the State Sports girls hostel Dimapur, appealing the state government to give priority to the state’s sportspersons and the academies.
“The state government had ensured stipend, uniform, accommodation and stadium, training facilities, and tournament sponsors to state sports academy students. However till date the assurance remains vague,” shared one of the members of the association.
Another member pointed out that the allocation for sports in the 2016-17 budget was an embarrassing amount of Rs. 2 lakh. And there is no budget for tournament participation. “We are not training the players to keep them restricted only to trainings but they need exposure. When other neighbouring states can afford to provide air travel for their players, our state cannot even provide second class train tickets,” the coach lamented.
Drawing attention to the functioning of the state’s department of Youth Resources and Sports, the NSCA members opined that the department’s administrators should be retained for a period of at least five years. Change of guard frequently affects the planning, leaving room for loopholes. “There are lots of loopholes if we have to discuss thoroughly”.
According to the coaches, even the basic rights of the sportsperson – such as the 5% government job quota for medal winners – have been routinely denied. “The sportspersons are managing with the daily allowance of Rs. 150 per day and this year the department has not provided a single equipment and sports material to the students (at the academies) even after a memorandum was brought to their notice on Oct. 10 2017”.
The NCSA listed the unavailability of basic training uniforms, pathetic conditions of accommodation facilities, absence of first-aid care, poor infrastructure and failure to provide sporting equipments, and having to base their diet on a meagre daily allowance of Rs. 150 per day as some of the issues they wanted to bring to the notice of the chief minister and his colleagues.
“Lack of these facilities is a big disadvantage for children who have potentials to become a sportsperson and also for those seeking career in sports. It is also a loss for the state to miss out on promising sportspersons and for the enthusiastic sportsperson too,” one of the coaches said.
The coaches’ association was of the view that there is a need to reform the sports policy, sports planning board and sports administration by giving room to experienced sportspersons who are National Institute of Sports (NIS)-certified coaches. Their experiences in the field as well as knowledge in policy making should be utilised by the state government, the association members felt.
“We have 34 qualified NIS cadre coaches working together in the sports department covering 13 sports discipline: athletics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, football, handball, hockey, lawn tennis, sepaktakraw, taekwondo, volleyball and wrestling, out of which the government has given an opportunity to seven disciplines as state sports academy Kohima and state sports hostel Dimapur – athletic girls (18), sepaktakraw girls (15), football boys (32) girls (32), boxing boys and girls (20), archery boys/girls (34), taekwondo boys (30), and wrestling boys/girls (30),” they highlighted.
“This year’s enrolment at the sports academies and sports hostels is 211 students who come from various backgrounds. However with the lack of basic requirements and infrastructure, the coaches are helpless to promote sports in the state. The only support we can provide is to train them while our demand for simple basic requirements and change in system remains,” the coaches shared.