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Odisha govt has done precious little to spot rural sporting talent

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Reported by Ranjan Rath
Koraput, Oct 27:

While the Centre and the Odisha government have launched a host of schemes to promote sports, the hunt for budding talents has unfortunately been restricted to a few well known educational institutes.

Photo: Ranjan Rath
Photo: Ranjan Rath

Barring Sundargarh district where the state government has developed adequate infrastructure for promotion of hockey among the tribals, who have earned a name for themselves at the national and international level, no sincere efforts have been made to look out for talented players in other sports in other rural and remote areas of the state.

Take the instance of Siribeda, a nondescript village near the Gupteswar Shiva temple of Boipariguda block of Koraput district where kabaddi is the life blood of every villager irrespective of age.

During a recent visit to the village, OST found the villagers from all age groups engrossed in Kabaddi. Watching the gathering, it seemed as if a tournament was going on.

“It is a daily affair for the people of this village. We do not have any coach or special ground for any sport like football and Bohu Chori. We decide which game is to be played depending on the weather. We are confident of playing these games with any outsider,” Mangulu Dorua, the 55-year-old village head, told OST.

The confidence of the villagers speaks volume about the intensity of their involvement in the game. People’s representatives, including players of national and international repute who have made it to the Parliament and the State Assembly, have hardly made any efforts to explore sporting talents in rural areas.

If efforts are made to provide the required training and infrastructure facilities to rural level sportsmen, there is no doubt that they would bring laurels for the state and the country.