Imphal: Khelo India, the national programme for development of sports, is all set to establish 16 sports centres across 16 districts in Manipur. This is part of the 143 new centres approved in seven states last week by the Union sports ministry.

According to an official statement, the initiative is part of the Centre’s vision to open 1,000 new Khelo India Centres (KIC) in all states and Union territories, with at least one KIC in each district of the country.

The centres that will be spread across Manipur’s 16 districts include Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal, Kakching, Chandel, Tengnoupal, Bishnupur, Churchandpur, Pherzwal, Kangpokpi, Senapati, Ukhrul, Kamjong, Jiribam, Tamenglong and Noney. They will have one sports discipline in each centre.

“Earlier this year, the sports ministry had opened Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, Imphal with the aim to identify and provide world-class training to athletes in the state in their specialised sports. With these 16 Khelo India State Centres opening in the 16 districts spread across Manipur, I believe we will be able to identify and groom more sporting talents from Manipur who can bring laurels for the state and the nation,” said T Phulen Meitei, director of youth affairs and sports, while speaking on the approval from the Union sports ministry.

The Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal was chosen as the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) and was virtually inaugurated by Kiren Rijiju, the Union minister of sports and youth affairs, in 2020. Three disciplines — archery, hockey and weightlifting — were selected to be part of the KISCE initially under which one state could have one discipline and weightlifting was declared as the state discipline of Manipur.

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With the 143 new centres approved in seven states, India will now have a total number of 360 KICs across the country. These KICs have been launched by the sports ministry in partnership with the state governments to provide grassroots-level sports infrastructure to young sporting talent in different parts of the country.

The KICs will also act as an employment generator for sportspersons from the state who are not active in the field as the government will also be hiring past ‘champion athletes’ as coaches and mentors for the young trainees.

Each of these centres will be given a one-time initial grant of Rs 5 lakh for the preparation and upgrade of infrastructure, sports fields, purchase of equipment, sports kits, etc.

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