The union sports ministry has selected the Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy (SLSA) in Arunachal Pradesh as one of the sports centres in the northeast that would be upgraded into a Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) under the Khelo India scheme.

Located at Chimpu near Itanagar, the SLSA is the lone sports academy of Arunachal Pradesh.

It was established in 2001 and has been named after the then secretary for education Lt Sangay Lhaden who died in a tragic chopper accident.

Several sporting disciplines such as athletics, boxing, archery, badminton, football, judo, karate, weight lifting, wushu etc are taught at the academy at present.

With the SLSA being selected for KISCE, the academy would now be upgraded with a budget of Rs 11 crores in the next four years.

The upgradation aims at identifying and grooming an Olympic level talent.

“The support will be in the form of infrastructure upgradation, setting up of sports science centre and also a soft component in the form of quality coaches and sports science human resources like physiotherapists, strength and conditioning expert,” the sports ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

High-quality equipment will also be provided to the players.

The academy will also have a high-performance manager to ensure quality sports science input and performance management system.

The sports ministry is upgrading existing sporting infrastructure in each state and union territory (UT), in partnership with the state and union territory and creating KISCEs with the aim to create a robust sporting ecosystem in the entire country.

Each KISCE will be extended sports-specific support in 14 Olympic sports, of which one state or UT will be given support for a maximum of 3 sporting disciplines.

In the first leg, eight KISCEs have been identified, including the one in Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh. The other KISCEs will be set up in Mizoram, Telangana, Manipur, Nagaland, Odhisha, Karnataka and Kerala.

Speaking about the decision to set up the KISCEs, Kiren Rijiju the union sports and youth affairs minister said, “The Khelo India State Center of Excellence is yet another step towards building a robust sports ecosystem on one hand and India’s pursuit of excellence in Olympics, on the other.”

“These state-of-the-art centres will ensure that athletes proficient in a certain sport can be given the highest level of training and these centres become the best facilities in the country to train athletes in the priority sport for which they have been earmarked. I am confident this step will help to further India’s effort of becoming one of the top 10 countries in the Olympics in 2028,” he said.

Rijiju, who also represents the Arunachal West seat in the Lok Sabha said the setting up of the KISCE will also help to broad-base talent identification as the states and UTs will also identify and develop talent in each sport for which the funding is received.

As a joint partnership, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) will provide financial support in various avenues like sports science back-up, engagement of coaches and support staff, procurement of sports equipment, among other things, he said.

The state will be responsible for lodging, boarding, regular maintenance, infrastructure upgradation and overall management of the centre and the SAI will also provide technical expertise and assistance wherever required while putting in place a regular monitoring mechanism, to ensure that athletes are trained at par with international standards, the minister added.


Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: