Kollam: One may wonder how training for water sports events like canoeing and kayaking can be carried out on land, that too without boats. But that is exactly what young students selected for the Kerala government's 'Operation Olympia' programme have been doing for the last six months.
The participants at the training camp are 19 girl students of standard 9 to degree classes selected from various districts of the state. After being selected for the camp, all the students had availed transfer certificates from the institutions where they were studying earlier and joined various schools and colleges in Kollam.
The camp had started on June 1 and the Ashtamudi Lake is the venue. However, essential materials like boats, oars and life jackets have not been made available so far. As a result, the students are yet to venture into the waters.
Moreover, the ergometer, which facilitates preliminary training on land, is yet to arrive at the camp. (Ergometer is an apparatus for measuring exercises carried out).
Worse, even though the boats used for the national meet are lying disused nearby, the students have not been given permission to use them.
Food and accommodation have been arranged for the camp members and Baby Chacko appointed as coach. While their counterparts in other places are earning several honours, the students in Kollam are forced to restrict their training to physical exercise on land.
Operation Olympia aims to create medal winners from Kerala for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. But it is an irony that the students who are supposed to win the medals are yet to be supplied even an oar.