Sports dept to have Kalinga Athletics Club for city kids

BHUBANESWAR: The sports and youth services department will give training to city children aged between six and 12 years in athletics at Kalinga Stadium here, charging a monthly fee of Rs 1000. However, training for December and January months will be free of cost.
The department will start Kalinga Athletics Club for the training purposes. The kids will come for an hour from 5pm to 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays to the Kalinga Athletics Stadium for the training. This initiative of the department is called ‘Pay and Play’.
Parents of the kids can apply online from the department’s website or collect offline registration forms from Kalinga Athletics Stadium. Registration process has already started from Wednesday. Each batch will have 30 students (both boys and girls).
Department secretary Vineel Krishna on Friday told TOI that they already have coaching programmes for students in swimming and tennis at Kalinga Stadium. “We have started similar programmes for hockey and football. Now we are starting this in athletics,” he added.
He said there is a lot of interest among the students to learn sports. “Therefore, we are launching coaching programmes for appropriate age groups for various sports disciplines. This will be rolled at various facilities of the department across the state in phases,” he added.
The secretary said, “If kids from a young age learn athletics, they will have better fitness and also go into many other sports disciplines.”
There is a high-performance centre (HPC) for athletics at Kalinga Stadium. The HPC, which has been providing training and other necessary support to athletes since 2018, hosts performance graded competitions to showcase the sportspersons’ talent and evaluate their improvement.
Recently, 289 boys and girls from across the state had participated in the performance graded competitions with a total of 16 disciplines. Presently, 21 athletes including 17 from Odisha are getting training and other support at the HPC. Athletes from this centre have brought 32 national medals and created six national records. The state government is coming up with four synthetic tracks at different places. It will help the state to get more athletes in the coming days, said a department official.