Concerned over the approach of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh governments towards one of the Olympic games, like Kayaking and Canoeing games, in recent days, Asian Canoe Confederation (ACC) Executive Board member, Balbir Singh Kushwaha, said that players with potential to win medals for their states and nation in this discipline have fallen prey to the political unwillingness to resume training centres.
The 75-year-old Kushwaha, who is also the executive member of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), said that the Bhopal Centre of Sports Authority of India (SAI) has resumed training of Kayaking and Canoeing two months back following interference of senior politicians including Members of Parliaments, but in Chhattisgarh the Kayaking and Canoe sprinters, who have been winning at least five medals every year for the state apart from two medals in Kerala National Games, are deprived of the closure of the SAI Kayaking and Canoeing training centre in Raipur. The Kayaking and Canoeing centre was closed three years back citing fund crisis. Training centre of Bhopal was also closed, but here the training has not resumed due to the political willingness.
Kushwaha also blamed it on top officials of the sports department in Chhattisgarh for showing apathy towards game like Kayaking-Canoeing. He said that 25 gold medals, including Olympics and Asian Games, at stake in Kayaking-Canoeing and Chhattisgarh government should promote this game. The state government should write to the Union Sports Minister Anurang Singh Thakur for resumption of training at SAI Raipur, so that potential of the players is exploited. Kushwaha also said that the sports in Chhattisgarh will not grow unless qualified and eligible sports persons are given an opportunity to serve at higher level in the sports department of the government.
Kushwaha said that Chhattisgarh has been doing exceptionally well at national level Kayaking and Canoeing by winning at least five medals each year. It will be injustice with the players if training centre is not resumed in Raipur at the earliest. If the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and Sports Minister write to the Union Minister for Sports then no one can stop from the resumption of Kayaking and Canoeing Centre in Raipur, Kushwaha said.