A new sports hub in Visakhapatnam with a training academy for over 15 sports

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Teams from different States participating in the National Inter-District Junior Athletics Meet held in 2017 at Port stadium in Visakhapatnam.

Teams from different States participating in the National Inter-District Junior Athletics Meet held in 2017 at Port stadium in Visakhapatnam.
| Photo Credit: KR Deepak

A go-karting track, mini golf course, renovated basketball and badminton courts, flood lights on the ground, bowling alley, snow world and professional training academies for about 15 sports: this new club in the heart of Visakhapatnam is the latest sports hub.

Dotted with greenery, walking tracks, sports grounds and indoor stadiums, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust Diamond Jubilee Stadium (Port Stadium) at Akkayyapalem was inaugurated in 1993 and has been synonymous with several sporting events conducted in the city.

After nearly three decades, the Port Stadium is in the process of getting a facelift with several added features. City-based Vishwanadh Sports Club (VSC) has adopted the stadium on a 10-year-lease for nurturing sports talent in Andhra Pradesh at the grassroots level by upgrading and building infrastructure and collaborating with leading coaching academies.

The infrastructure upgradation is being done at the cost of ₹70 crore. This includes a 400-metre go-karting track coming up near the East gate of the Port Stadium, a snow world and water park in a two-acre area behind the basketball court, an amphitheatre, children’s park and bowling alley, among others. The civil works have already begun and are expected to be completed in six months.

Archery classes at Port Stadium in Visakhapatnam.

Archery classes at Port Stadium in Visakhapatnam.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“Our objective is to create a sports hub which will not only help unearth talent but create a sports culture in the city as well as the State. We are working towards developing highest levels of facilities in the stadium,” says Narendra Kumar, director of Vishwanadh Sports Club.

To kick-start the club activities and to provide a peek into the training academies, Vishwanadh Sports Club is conducting a summer camp starting from May 1 with over 30 activities spanning over a period of six weeks.

The activities include cricket, badminton, volleyball, hockey, athletics, basketball, archery, karate, rifle shooting, taekwondo, fencing, painting, dance, music, yoga, robotics, among others. The camp is open for participants in the age group of six to 18 years.

“Summer camps are a great platform to spot sports talents at an early age. However, there is no continuity in sports training once these camps end as Visakhapatnam lacked a permanent sports hub with good infrastructure from a long time. Children will now get the opportunity to train under the guidance of reputed coaches under one platform,” says badminton coach MV Murali Krishna, who is one of the coaches for the badminton academy at VSC. Port Stadium has three badminton courts laid with synthetic floors for professional players and five wooden flooring courts for beginners.

Indoor stadium at Port Stadium in Visakhapatnam.

Indoor stadium at Port Stadium in Visakhapatnam.
| Photo Credit:
Special arranagement

According to hockey coach Peter Das, more than four decades ago, the port Gymkhana Ground in One Town was the most happening sporting arena. “It was the hub of all sporting activity in Visakhapatnam, and back then, hockey ruled the roost. Young sporting enthusiasts jogging down to the Gymkhana grounds in the early hours and in the evening was a common sight,” says Peter, a former national player who played alongside hockey star Dhanraj Pillay in the Olympics and Asian games. The Gymkhana ground produced over 120 hockey players, who represented Andhra University in State and senior and junior nationals. Till about late 1980s, the Gymkhana Ground was buzzing with sporting activities and as a result, Andhra Pradesh had a good representation in State and national games.

An aerial view of the Port Stadium surrounded by greenery that is getting developed into a sports hub by Vishwanadh Sports Club in Visakhapatnam.

An aerial view of the Port Stadium surrounded by greenery that is getting developed into a sports hub by Vishwanadh Sports Club in Visakhapatnam.
| Photo Credit:
KR Deepak

“So when the Port Stadium was built in 1990s, we were excited. However, no grassroots level coaching happened apart from summer camps. Over the years, the sporting culture petered down. Vishwanadh Sports Club shows a promising start to give the much-needed thrust to the sports in the region. It is centrally located and has an advantage in accessibility as well as infrastructure support,” says Peter, who will be a part of the VSC training academy.

Karate coach Satish Kumar says, the sports club at Port Stadium will provide the much-needed visibility to many other sports in the category of martial art that has been producing great talent from Visakhapatnam. “Visakhapatnam is set to host the 19th WKI International Karate Championship at the Port Stadium in November this year. About 15 countries are participating in it. Infrastructure support as well as training academy at the Port Stadium by Vishwanadh Sports Club will help to spot and nurture talent in the field. Every year, Visakhapatnam has produced karate talent that have won gold at the national level,” says Satish Kumar, who has several international achievements in karate and has been providing training since 1995.

At the Vishwanadh Sports Club in Port Stadium, people can also pay for slots to play a sport. Registering for any sport in the upcoming sports summer camp can be done through BookMyShow.

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