Looking at a bright future
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"I have a vision and that is to provide best sports infrastructure at the Panjab University. We are setting up astroturf hockey ground, building a new shooting range, laying synthetic track for athletes, developing all-weather swimming pool and adding more tennis courts to the campus. We are looking to use the latest technologies to get the best results and we will make sure it is introduced effectively in the university," shared Gurmeet.
Gurmeet sure has to roll up his sleeve to make his dreams come true. Panjab University has always finished as the next best to universities like Guru Nanak Dev or Punjabi University, Patiala when it comes to sports in the region. These two universities have pushed Panjab University behind to win the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy- a rolling trophy given to top overall performing university in the inter-university tournaments- in the last few years.
Panjab University last won the MAKA Trophy almost six years ago. Since then the gulf between these three universities have been widening. Pulling up the socks and upgrading sports infrastructure to compete with these two universities is what Panjab University is looking to do right now.
"I am really glad that Arun Kumar Grover, the Vice Chancellor of the university, is with us and he has promised all the necessary help," added Gurmeet.
The first and foremost on the list of things to take care of is the astroturf hockey ground at the university capus. "Look at national and international tournaments as they are all played on astroturfs. Plus, the values have changed over the years. So, sprucing up the hockey ground is what we are focussing on right now," Gurmeet, 41, said.
Also, the demand for a shooting range at the university campus has been gathering momentum. "Our shooters have taken part in World University Games and to provide better facilities to them, we are building a shooting range. The construction is in full swing now. We are looking at mass participation from players, so that we have the best talent at disposal," he shared.
With so many projects on the floor, Gurmeet is hopeful of better results in the future. But he stresses that the development work will be finished one by one. "I have written to the UGC telling them that we want to add atleast three more synthetic tennis courts at the campus. Moreover, we will try to build a basketball court indoors or atleast build a roof so that the players do not have to suffer during rainy seasons," Gurmeet, who joined the Physical Education Department at PU in 1998, said.
Also, plans to build all-season weather pool is in the pipeline and, according to Gurmeet, it will be open by next winter.
Last but not the least, the hostel for sportspersons which has been the subject of controversy for the past few years, is also on the verge of completion. "The construction work of two floors has been completed, and within next few months it will be functional," shared Gurmeet.
Apart from the infrastructure, attention is also being paid to develop the skills of the talented players who take admission in the university. International players are being invited to share valuable inputs with the athletes. Under Gurmeet, Panjab University conducted a summer camp for the players at the PU Campus this year for the first time.
"We will conduct such summer camps every year to develop the skills of our players. And more training camps are being mulled about," he said.