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Under Parrikar, sports infra received a boost

Danuska Da Gama | NT


He fought against time, and ran the race – winning hearts until he reached the finish line. A winner in all respects, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was a true visionary of Goa and sports was always his baby, probably after education.

Not many might know, but Parrikar played football as a school student and then later at IIT Bombay. He adored Sachin Tendulkar and would make sure to catch his favourite cricket player in action for either an ODI or Test match, when time would permit during Tendulkar’s playing days.

Probably, that is why, Manohar Parrikar unlike other chief ministers, had sports close to his heart, doing what it took to promote sports and make Goa a hub for sports too. Under his leadership, the state budget each year saw an increase in allocation for sports with allocation of Rs 314 crore for 2019-2020. He also instituted a scheme for nurturing excellence in sports besides several other things.

Initiated GFDC with Rs 5 crore annual grant

On March 26, 2012 after coming to power, when presenting the budget speech, Manohar Parrikar was hailed, more particularly by the football fraternity for announcing that football would thereon be the official sport of Goa. He announced that Rufino Monteiro, a cardiologist by profession would be the chairman.

Within four months, GFDC had its own premises, which was inaugurated by Parrikar on July 29, 2012 at Patto-Panaji.

As an independent body, GFDC was initiated to supplement and complement efforts of the Goa Football Association (GFA), All-India Football Federation (AIFF), Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Ticket scam for 2001 ODI

It was Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who in 2012 decided to take into consideration recommendations made by the Pendse Commission which had conducted inquiry into the 2001 India vs Australian ODI ticket scam.

These were the recommendations that were earlier scrapped by the Congress government in 2005 under the leadership of Pratapsing Rane, when it revealed that the then minister Dayanand Narvekar who was president of Goa Cricket Association and other office bearer were indicted.

Stopped Lusofonia Games from getting derailed

The speculation of the lack of finances and will to organise the 3rd edition of the Lusofonia Games, was put to rest by Manohar Parrikar who left nothing undone as the chairman of these Games to ensure the Games were organised, albeit a year later after it was postponed. The multi-sport event, for Portuguese-speaking nations, was held from January 18-29, 2014 across various venues in Goa, for which new building of infrastructure was taken up along with refurbishment of existing infrastructure that was used for the conduct of the Games.

The Lusofonia Games Secretariat was set up in GMC Complex.

While many believed that organising the Lusofonia Games wasn’t the right decision, for Manohar Parrikar, the Games was also a reason for which cost for creating another new sporting facility would benefit sports in Goa in the future at Rs 220 crore, aside from the cost incurred for infrastructure.

97 events in 9 sports were held across five venues – Fatorda Stadium, GMC Complex, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Tilak Maidan, Multipurpose Indoor Stadium and Miramar Beach.

The Games ended in 12 days, but criticism about scams in tenders, corruption, and substandard equipment and infrastructure continued. Parrikar as always took it in his stride and ensured that Goa hosted the Games, in which India won 92 medals (37 gold, 27 silver and 28 bronze)

Created New Sporting infrastructure

After committing to Associação dos Comités Olímpicos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa (ACOLOP) and Indian Olympic Association, Parrikar had the task of building new infrastructure to conduct the Lusofonia Games.

Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium: Inaugurated by then Governor of Goa Bharat Vir Wanchoo in 2014. The stadium with a seating capacity of 4000 cost Rs 82 crore.

It was built in 11 months, which was a record time for the construction of an indoor stadium of international standard. With a 131-metre sheet, the stadium is Asia’s first stadium which has the longest single-sheet roof.

Facilities include air conditioning, player change rooms and lounge, dope control and medical rooms, media centre, state-of-the-art-acoustics and parking facilities and maple wood flooring at playing field. It was used for Volleyball and Basketball for the Lusofonia Games. The stadium is used for non-sporting events too, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the International Film Festival of India.

Athletic Stadium, Bambolim: A new stadium was constructed for the Lusofonia Games. It is the first integrated athletic complex in Goa which is constructed according to IAAF specifications and norms. The facility has a permanent seating capacity of 3500 and a temporary seating capacity of 6500. The competition synthetic track has lanes based on IAAF approved and IAAF class – II international standards at an approximate cost of Rs 65 crore.

Its arena has all facilities for track and field events as well as Athletic throwing events. The inner area of the track is covered with natural turf which can also be used as a football ground.

Peddem Multipurpose Complex: Here a new running facility was developed for the Lusofonia Games, while the existing complex was also refurbished which was used for Judo, Taekwondo, Table Tennis and Wushu. Here too, several national and international non sporting events are also hosted.

Major facelift for P J Nehru Stadium, Fatorda

The P J Nehru Stadium in Fatorda was built as an exclusive football stadium in the year 1989 with 19,000 seating capacity, and was refurbished for Lusofonia Games at a whopping cost of Rs 46 crore. From players dressing rooms, referee room, match commissioner, medical and dope testing rooms, broadcast room, TV room, etc, were all upgraded as per international standards of FIFA.

It has played host to several international sporting events including India’s qualifiers for both the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup. It has been the host for several national and international games. It is also the home ground for FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL).

P J N Stadium, Fatorda was chosen as one of the six stadiums in India to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup matches in India in 2017. Again in 2016 with the Stadium being chosen as one of the venues to host the U17 FIFA World Cup, refurbishments to the tune of Rs 8 crore was undertaken, with Parrikar monitoring progress at every step, to comply with FIFA’s stringent standards.

The flood lux towers were increased from 1500 to 2000, the VVIP enclosure, and other civil works including a youth development room and upgradation of flood lights were carried out.

Goa hosted FIFA-U17 World Cup matches

Manohar Parrikar took the lead to ensure that Goa was one of the states to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup matches at Fatorda in 2017, where ex-president of Goa Football Association Shrinivas Dempo was appointed as the venue director in Goa. Countries like Germany, Costa Rica, Iran and Guinea in Group C played at Fatorda and one Game that had Brazil played in Goa.

36th National Games will be a reality

The 35th National Games were held in Kerala in 2015, and the next edition was to take place in 2016 after being awarded to Goa. The date was missed, and subsequently Goa was to host the Games in November 2018 which was then moved to March-April 2019.

While the Games Secretariat had started gearing up for the Games, it was in the month of January, that the Games were postponed. While the main reasons are financial incapability and un-preparedness, they have got away with the elections to be held on April 23, 2019.

While by now, the Games would have been moved out of Goa, with several states expressing willingness to host the games, Goa would ideally have to pay a fine to the tune of Rs 10 crore. However, this time too, Goa has had the advantage and the Games will be hosted in Goa.

And if the Indian Olympic Association has agreed to this arrangement and postponement, a lot of credit goes to Manohar Parrikar who has displayed grit and will during the organisation of the National Games. Also, many in SAG, wouldn’t go on record, but have said that the delay was due to the lacunae caused by the sickness of Manohar Parrikar.

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