Goa-Lesgaft agreement ready to be signed: Yakov

The Letter of Cooperation, which in principle agrees to the tie-up between the Goa Government and the Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health, St Petersburg, Russia, will soon be a reality once the agreement is officially approved by the central ministry for external affairs as it is a protocol, disclosed Mr Elvis Gomes, member secretary of Goa Football Development Council and SAG’s Executive Director, while briefing the media at a city hotel on Tuesday.

The 4-member Lesgaft delegation which was on a week’s visit to Goa to explore the possibilities of tying up with Goa and exchange their technologies and expertise with GFDC to boost Goan sport in general and produce, in the long run, athletes of Olympic standards, were very much impressed with what they witnessed in the state where football has been deemed official sport.

Emphasising on their findings during their short stint to Goa, the Lesgaft head of delegation, Mr Yakov Morozov, who is also the Director of the Institute of sports facilities and the industry, impressed upon the GFDC that his delegation was very much impressed to hold fruitful conversations with the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, the Chief Secretary, Mr B Vijayan, the GFDC, SAG, GFA, Goa University and various physical education teachers and coaches along with the students and aspiring sportspersons of the schools they visited in Goa, some of them being in the rural belt.

Mr Yakov asserted that of the various schools they had visited over the past few days, the Don Bosco Farm High School, Sulcorna was the one that impressed them the most. "The fact that this school is located in the middle of the forest where the students are close to nature and that fresh and clean air greets them everyday caught our eye. The students are living there in natural environment and eat fresh food and while learning their lessons they have also understood how to work together," remarked Mr Yakov, highlighting that the Sulcorna boys play soccer with a firm sense of teamwork and exude high levels of energy and have brightness in their eyes and although they do not have a professional coach, they are able to play as a team.

Mr Yakov emphasised that though Lesgaft has a vast ocean of expertise to share and pass on to Goa to produce medal-winning athletes and sensitise the Goan population that only sports can make way for a healthier society while concentrating on promoting physical athletics, special emphasis will be laid on developing football as well.

To a pertinent query as to what Lesgaft had GFDC and football in Goa to offer, Mr Yakov said that their university had a lot to offer for football. "Special methodologies, theories, coach education and various other tools that are needed for football development will be passed on to GFDC," stated Mr Yakov echoing what Mr Elvis Gomes demanded from the Russian University in terms of providing Goa with a roadmap that is tangible and result-oriented.

"Goa Government and GFDC believe that sports is the pillar of development and with Lesgaft in picture we will ensure that Goa produces medal-winners of international repute and that’s our main agenda," Mr Gomes opined.

Mr Yakov said that his team had a "marathon run" in Goa so far and that the meetings and interactions at various levels had given them an insight as to what Goa needed to produce athletes who could win laurels for the state.

While outlining the objectives of the tie-up with Goa, Mr Yakov said the emphasis will be on development of sports infrastructure besides encouraging aspirants in mainstream sports to take part in physical athletics, which will also be the area of focus for the active population of Goa.

"Lesgaft is the oldest state university in the world and none can come even closer to the vast number of medals that our athletes have won at various world and international events and that’s what we want Goa also to achieve in sports. Produce medal-winners," exclaimed the Russian head of delegation.

Explaining their intent, Mr Yakov said that the 4-member team had come to Goa with an intent of signing a Letter of Agreement with the State Government but at the moment the agreement is ready to be signed.

"We have a whole range of lasting programmes to offer to Goa, right from training coaches, athletes and raising sports infrastructure in Goa. We also intend to implement programmes that will benefit the society in general and promote a healthy way of living through athletics as the base," Mr Yakov summarised praising Goa Government for taking the right step and showing the right intent to invest in sports. "It’s a sensible investment," Mr Yakov remarked, hoping that soon the Letter of Cooperation will be officially signed to enable strengthen the sporting relations between the two states.

In his opening remarks, GFDC Chairman, Dr Rufino Monteiro while describing the Lesgaft delegation’s Goan tour as "Whirlwind" hoped that the association continues and once the tie-up happens, it will work wonders for Goan sports.

"Hope that the association with Lesgaft takes Goa on the path to glory and the state is able to produce medal-winners of international repute," commented Dr Monteiro while highlighting that Lesgaft delegation had a productive discussion with the CM,Chief Secretary, GFDC, SAG, GFA, and all the stakeholders involved. During their visit to Goa, the delegation visited the Vidya Prabodhini Educational Complex, Porvorim, Viscount of Pernem High School, Pernem, Goa University Complex to meet the Vice Chancellor, Registrar and Directors of Physical Education of affiliated colleges of GU and also held meeting with coaches of SAG at the Goa State Museum Auditorium. They also visited St Thomas Girls HS, Aldona, Don Bosco Farm HS, Sulcorna, SAG swimming complex, Campal, Unity HS, Valpoi, Peddem Sports Complex, Peddem before winding up with a meeting again with Mr Parrikar on Tuesday afternoon and a visit to Don Bosco College, Panaji.

Mr Elvis Gomes during his briefing conveyed the chief minister’s message that the "working relation with Lesgaft should continue".

"Lesgaft delegation has conducted their study in the state and what Goa needs is a structured programme. We are happy to hear that the Russian delegates have given us a positive feedback and have said that Goan athletes have the potential mainly due to their physical make-up, specially of those in the rural areas and that such talent can be transformed into medal-winners," summed up Mr Gomes.

Other members of the Lesgaft delegation who were present during the briefing were Mr Nikolaev Sergei, head of North-West branch of the Federation of sports managers in Russia, Mr Nikitin Ruslan, Deputy Director of the Institute of Sports Facilities and the Industry, Mr Nunez Joshua David, translator and Mr Nilesh Neel, Founder & President, Original 21st Century Discoveries. [NT]