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IMG unveils plan for Hyderabad

June 17, 2004 22:01 IST

The IMG Academies Bharata, an affiliate of Florida-based global sports and entertainment conglomerate International Marketing Group unveiled its master plan for its sports academies project in Hyderabad on Thursday.

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Greg Sproute, international vice-president IMG, and director Billy Rao released the master plan, a day after the same was unveiled in New York by IMGB chairman Andrew Krieger.

They felt the change of government in Andhra Pradesh would not have any impact on the sports academies project. They said they are going ahead with the Rs 700 crore project as scheduled to develop world-class sports infrastructure and train sportspersons in Asia.

The training and learning complex is coming up on a 400-acre site near Gacchibowli on the city's outskirts. The complex will have training and learning facilities, tennis, basketball, soccer, cricket and aquatics academies, a golf course, student dormitories and a hotel.

"The complex is aimed to produce world-class athletes and will train the budding athletes from Asia, Africa and Middle East. It will also host major sporting events," Billy Rao said.

The MoU for the project was signed last year when N Chandrababu Naidu was the Chief Minister. The previous government had allotted the land at a nominal rate of Rs 50,000 per acre.

Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, who took over as Chief Minister last month after the Congress party's victory in the recent elections, announced that he would review all allotments of land made by the previous government.

Billy Rao, however, expressed confidence that the new government would be keen to see the project through as it could offer new opportunities for the state and help the government in its goal to create employment generation for youth. He said the IMG team is yet to meet the new chief minister.

"We are keeping the government posted and we are pleased with the progress we have made. This is something beyond politics. Sportspersons build the national pride," he said and refused to answer queries on what measures it would take if the government cancels the allotment of land.

Rao said the IMG Academies, which have the reputation of churning out Wimbledon champions, Olympic medallists and world-class champions, would replicate their success in India. The proposed IMG academies in Hyderabad would be the biggest sports training facility outside North America.

The complex is expected to begin operations in 2006. As part of the complex, a secondary school will enroll 300 students of 10-18 years. The school will have strategic alliances with US university programmes and help prepare graduates for college through sports and education.

Under the second phase IMG also plans to build leisure, lifestyle and an entertainment centre. The previous government had promised to allocate another 450 acre land near the proposed international airport at Shamshabad to build a theme park targeting international travellers, a golf course, and infrastructure for leisure and entertainment facilities.

Syed Amin Jafri