New lease of life for sports academies in Balewadi

Oct 24, 2014, 08:41 IST | Joe Williams

Three sports academies at the Balewadi Sports Complex - including Gagan Narang's celebrated shooting academy, Gun for Glory - were facing eviction, but can now rest easy with new five-year lease contracts from the state government

Three sports academies at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex that were earlier facing eviction, have now received a new lease of life - quite literally – with the state government finally awarding new five-year lease contracts to them. The academies include London Olympic bronze medallist, Gagan Narang’s state-of-the-art shooting range, Gun for Glory, as well as the badminton and table tennis academies.

Shooters can continue to hone their skills at the shooting range at Gun for Glory, with the state now awarding a five-year lease to the academy

The contracts have been at the centre of a long-standing dispute between the state and the academies run by Narang, former badminton Olympian Nikhil Kanetkar and former international table tennis player, Bhushan Thakur. The Balewadi sports complex being a state-owned property, the sports academies were allowed to rent premises there for their activities.
However, after the contracts expired in April 2012, they were never renewed. All three academies have been functioning without contracts for the past few years, and last year, were even sent termination notices and asked to vacate the property by the deputy director of the sports complex.

Had the eviction actually come to pass, it could have spelled the end of the road for the academies. However, the institutes, which have been continuing on borrowed life so far, will soon receive the new contracts. According to Manik Thosare, state deputy director of sports and youth affairs, the contracts will officially be handed over once the new government is formed.

“Gun For Glory, the shooting academy and the baby of London Olympic bronze medallist, Gagan Narang, will get a new contract as per the conditions placed by the academy. It has been long pending, and going by the way the shooters have been winning medals (17 medals at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games), the state government is set to renew the new contract for a period of five years,” said Thosare, powerlifting champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

“It is good news and we should get the contract as per our conditions,” said Pawan Kumar Singh, director of Gun for Glory.

“It was just a one-year contract which was to be renewed, but now it will be extended to five years, which is a welcome sign for the future of the Indian shooters who benefit from this academy,” Singh said, adding further, “We have been in talks with the Maharashtra government for the renewal of our contract for the next five years, and have been told that the contract will be confirmed soon and renewed at the earliest.”

Shooting championship

New rules and overwhelming response awaits the Senior National Shooting Championship which is to be held at the shooting range at Balewadi sports complex from December 12.

“This edition of the championship will see all the new rules being implemented. What is more interesting, is the fact that this edition has attracted the biggest number of the entries,” said Pawan Kumar Singh, director of Gun for Glory.

Meanwhile advanced training programmes for the shooters will include the services of international coaches as well. “We already have the international coaches and have also signed a contract with the rifle coach (Yuniarti Ilyas, from Indonesia),” said Singh.

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