Mohali: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday pledged to develop Punjab as a front runner state in the field of sports and revive hockey also. Addressing a gathering after inaugurating world class international standard hockey stadium opposite PCA in Sector 63 here, the Chief Minister said that his government was committed to raise the profile of kabaddi and hockey which had lost its sheen with the passage of time.
He said concerted efforts have been made by his government to popularise Kabbadi at the world level by organizing World Kabaddi Cups. Badal said that his government would focus towards promotion of hockey in a big way so that Punjab can once again shine in this traditional sport.
Recalling the contribution of ace hockey players like Olympian Balbir Singh Senior and others, the Chief Minister said that they had brought laurels for the country in general and made Punjab proud in particular.
He said that the newly built stadium would provide opportunities for young hockey Players to excel and the portraits of the stalwarts of Punjab displayed in the stadium would give inspiration to the future generations.
Badal said that the Punjab was the only state in the country to have announced its sports policy, adding that the state government had given jobs to a number of sportspersons who have excelled in the various national and international events.
The Chief Minister added that all out efforts were being made by the state government to uplift the sports infrastructure for which Rs 200 crore was being spent. He said six world class hockey stadiums, along with 10 multi-purpose stadiums, were under construction which would give a major fillip to sports in the state.
Badal said that the entire focus on the upgradation of infrastructure was in line with the fact that top class sportspersons could only excel in their different disciplines provided they get best facilities.
Terming the newly inaugurated hockey stadium as one of the best stadiums in the world, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in his address said that the stadium was one of its kind across the globe.
He said that besides organising six-nation tournament in this stadium, the state government would also hold the matches of Punjab Hockey League on the pattern of Indian Premier League (IPL) in which the district level teams would compete with each other.
Sukhbir Singh Badal also said that Punjab Institute of Sports would be constructed at Mohali at a cost of Rs 100 crore, adding that centers of excellence in selective sports disciplines would be constructed for promoting sports.
The Deputy Chief Minster further said that the Sports department would soon chalk out a massive program for establishing one sports school each in every district on the pattern of already set up school at Ghudda (Bathinda).
He said that with the inauguration of this international hockey stadium, Mohali will also be known for hockey stadium whereas earlier it was only associated with the cricket stadium.
Sukhbir Singh Badal said that world class coaches will be roped in to train budding players in all sports disciplines, especially hockey.
Meanwhile, Punjab XI defeated the Rest of India 3-2 in an exciting match which offered a gala event to the hockey lovers. The Chief Minister announced a cash reward of Rs five lakh each to both the teams.