In recent times, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has often made clear his intentions to bring about a drastic improvement in sporting infrastructure in the state. Besides this, better recognition of athletes and quality training exposure is high on the agenda.
Various ambitious plans of constructing stadiums and swimming pools in the state have been envisaged in the past year, and the government has aimed at concerted efforts to make Uttar Pradesh a world-class sporting destination. Yadav is of the opinion that better infrastructure would duly lead to the coming out of sporting talent from the state.
Uttar Pradesh has over the years produced quite a few stellar sporting stars, with the legendary hockey wizard Dhyan Chand being the jewel in the state’s sporting crown. It is this legacy that Yadav’s Samajwadi Party wishes to take forward and with that end in view, he has taken it upon himself to promote the inculcation of sports culture among the aspiring youngsters in the state.
The purposeful projects include major stadiums for both cricket and football in the capital city of Lucknow. The state-of-the-art cricket stadium on Sultanpur Road, to be christened as the Lucknow International Cricket Stadium, is currently under construction and Yadav believes that it will be complete in the first quarter of 2017.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav greets badminton players during the Indian Badminton League (source – IBL/ndtv.com)
The announcement regarding the football stadium came last year, when Yadav broke the news during an event for launching the new logo of the Delhi Dynamos football club. Another significant development for Lucknow is slated to be the the large-scale cycling academy – the first of its kind in the state.
Outside of Lucknow, Yadav’s native village of Saifai in the Etawah district has garnered attention because of its connection with the sporting revamp in the state. The plans for Saifai include a first-of-its-kind Sports University and sprucing up of several infrastructure facilities in the Saifai Kreeda Sankul (Sports Complex), spread over more than 80 acres of land.
Furthermore, Saifai has also seen a gradual improvement in facilities for indoor sports such as wrestling, basketball and badminton. An all-weather swimming pool has also been confirmed. This project aims at creating an international-level swimming zone and will add to the existing pool at the Chandagi Ram Stadium. It will boast of a practice pool, a main pool and a diving pool all under one roof.
The country’s national game is also being given due attention by Yadav’s government. A synthetic astroturf arena has been proposed in Saifai, which will cater to the requirements of international field hockey. Hockey has seen a revival in the state of late thanks to the U.P Wizards who ply their trade in the Hockey India League, and this bodes well for the future of the game.
The government’s commitment to development of world-class sporting facilities in the state can be gauged from the fact that last year, the state’s Sports Department refused to part with the land reserved for the proposed sports complex to the Tourism Department, which was looking to build a guest house there.
The proposed university is also expected to offer specialised courses in sport-related fields such as sports biomechanics, sports health and sports physics. Moreover, Yadav has also pledged to consider improved facilities for lawn tennis and has roped in India’s top-ranked tennis player Sania Mirza to encourage and guide the young talent in the state.
While the projects cannot be expected to bear fruit overnight, one cannot deny that the state government’s efforts will ultimately benefit the nation. As the Chief Minister of India’s most populous state, Yadav has done well to realise that there is a huge amount of untapped sporting potential existing in Uttar Pradesh.