Guntur: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy kicked off ‘Aadudam Andhra’, a statewide sports tournament, here on Tuesday.
The 47-day tournament, which will conclude on February 10, is aimed at encouraging and identifying talent in cricket, volleyball, badminton and other sports.
Addressing a public meeting, Reddy said, “This sporting extravaganza will emerge as a milestone. Starting today, it will be held for 47 days till February 10. It will be held across villages in a festival-like atmosphere.”
Through this initiative, the state government wants to make people physically active, identify talent and ward off diseases, he said.
It will help discover and hone sporting talent from villages which is often neglected, he added.
By the time the competitions reach the constituency level, Reddy said, professional leagues will collaborate with the state government and groom the identified talent.
For cricket, IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) will be the collaborators and for badminton, it will be international players K Srikanth and P V Sindhu, he said.
According to Reddy, ‘Aadudam Andhra’ will now be an annual event to promote health awareness and identify sporting talent.
As many as 34 lakh people from across the state have registered for the tournament and around 87 lakh spectators are expected. The competition has a total prize money of Rs 12 crore.
Reddy also interacted with the participants and inspected some of the sports paraphernalia distributed to them such as a cricket bat, leather ball, helmet, wicketkeeper’s gloves, volleyball and a badminton bat.
Amidst loud cheers from the crowd, Reddy smashed a few shots on a badminton court and played a brief volleyball game. He also wielded a cricket bat for some time.
Sports Minister R K Roja said the chief minister has injected enthusiasm in everybody by playing cricket.