BHOPAL, 11 August 2006 — India’s first National Sailing School (NSS) opened its doors here on Tuesday at the historic Upper Lake in Bhopal, with much fanfare and enthusiasm exhibited particularly by the youth.
The inaugural ceremony of NSS, the brainchild of energetic Madhya Pradesh Minister for Sports & Youth Welfare, Tourism, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, was graced by Chief of the Indian Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash, State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other luminaries.
The sailing school was an offshoot of the special interest from Scindia and was jointly established by Madhya Pradesh Sports and Youth Welfare Department, Indian Navy and Yachting Association of India, (YAI).
Children ranging in age from 8 to 21 years will be trained in three major classes namely Optimist, 420 and Laser. NSS will offer three levels of courses certified by YAI & Madhya Pradesh State Sports Department of 12 days, 50 days and one year duration.
In his address, Admiral Arun Prakash said an Indian sailor would soon set out for a journey of the globe. Necessary preparations are under way. He said that Indian sailors have carried forward cultural traditions since ages. The tradition could be revived by promoting sailing as a sport.
He said the South Asia Sailing Championship with teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India would now be held in December instead of September in Bhopal. The championship has been postponed because of the thaw in Indo-Pakistan relations presently.
Admiral Prakash, who is also president of YAI, said the NSS venture at Bhopal is ground-breaking in two important ways. Firstly, by its very nature, yachting is a sport that has been traditionally associated with either the Armed Forces or the affluent sections of the civilian community. At this school, however, it is hoped that children from all walks of society will have the opportunity to learn sailing.
Secondly, the vast majority of yachting activity is concentrated along the coast, and landlocked Bhopal is therefore breaking ground by bringing this sport virtually into the heart of India.
“The YAI intends to replicate such facilities at several locations across the country. Bhopal will, however, remain the pioneer school in our broad-basing campaign,” he remarked.
He said that the historic Upper Lake of Bhopal is an ideal lake for water sports. He congratulated Scindia for taking the initiative to open the sailing school here.
Chief Minister Chouhan, who was the chief guest, speaking on the occasion said that the State government would extend full support for promoting adventurous sports including sailing. Youths would be encouraged and given training.
Reiterating state government’s commitment to promoting adventurous sports, Chouhan called upon the youths to participate in adventurous sports. The NSS at Bhopal is a step in this direction. He said that the state government would ensure all facilities and arrangements to host international level sports events. He appreciated the initiative of Scindia in making NSS a reality.
Chouhan said that adventurous sports teach youths to face challenges of life courageously. He hoped that the water sports facilities would encourage youngsters to win national and international championships.