Bhubaneswar: National youth awardee Susanta Kumar Sahoo has urged the Odisha Government to set up a barrier-free sports complex having hostel facilities for sportspersons with disabilities in the State capital.
Maintaining that the State does not have proper infrastructure for growth of sportspersons with disabilities though it has thrown up several disabled national and international players, Sahoo said that if a world-class dedicated sports centres comes up in the State capital it can certainly enable disabled sportspersons effectively compete and win medals in Paralympics, Deaflympics, special Olympics and other international events.
Sahoo also submitted memorandum to Sports and Youth Services Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera to this effect.
Sahoo said that with limited available facilities, various disabled sportspersons from Odisha, time to time and in the recent past, have secured gold and silver medals in the sports events abroad. To name a few are Mohammad Zafar Iqbal, Pankaj Bhue, Sukharan Majhi, Lingaraj Routray, Kalia Pradhan (All international blind cricketers), Soundarjya and Prachurjya (Blind Chess Competition), Sahoo added.
“If they bring laurels without getting Government support, they can do wonder after they receive facilities from the Government in form of infrastructure,” he added.
“At a time when the State is earning fame for organising international sports events like Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, its own blind cricketers could not get a playground to practice their match for national or international tournaments,” said the rights campaigner.
If a world-class dedicated sports centres comes up in the State capital it can enable more disabled sportspersons effectively compete and win medals in Paralympics, Deaflympics, special Olympics and other international events, added Sahoo.
“Inspired by the success of the Indian team in Paralympics and World Cup Cricket for visually impaired in May 2016, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has decided to set up five regional state-of-the-art centres of excellence for sports (one in Vishakhapatnam) for the differently-abled, including residential options. One could have been established in State’s capital, if the State has taken suitable initiatives,” rued Sahoo.