Lack of facilities plague India's largest water sports centre
The recent suicide of Aparna Ramabhadran in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) water sports centre in Kerala brought the country’s attention to sports infrastructure in India.
At the 2014 Nationals, the female students of Alappuzha won six of the eight gold medals at offer, including two silvers. The 2015 edition saw that number come down to four. However, the facilities of the centre are deplorable to say the least.
There are barely any oars for the rowers to practice and the fitness centre barely has any sport-specific equipment. Trainees only have access to water for six to seven months a year. Around 40 trainees have only 11 boats and no oars to practice with.
Most of the oars are provided by the Kerala Rowing Association (KRA). Due to the lack of boats, only age category specific rowers can practice before the event.
Sreekumara Kurup Secretary-General of the KRA said,” As the centre doesn’t have oars, we provide trainees with the association’s personal oars.”
He added, “It’s the country’s best training centre and the results speak about its stature. But when it comes to facilities, there are hardly any.
“We have spoken to DG, SAI about the problems and have also requested him to depute an assistant director- level officer and more coaches. Right now there are only two coaches and looking at the number of trainees and the results the centre is producing, there should be more coaches.”