In heavily affected areas by Naxals, Bastar has seen many youngsters escaping from the district and coming to Bijapur. But the bold step of setting up the academy eight months back have given the youth here a purpose and way to showcase their talent in sports.
About 17 sportspersons have played national championships in less than eight months of training.
Such has been the success of the academy that students who were once living in fear are now showing their skills in nine different games.
Over 240 students from the Naxal-affected villages are now getting trained from the Sports Academy of India (SAI) accredited head coach.
"I belong to Gugra village, where the government is still trying to reach the people. I earn 15k per month. Many times Naxals pressurised me to join their army but I ran away to Bijapur," he told ANI.
A state-level football player, Kashyap, said that he tried to play at the national level but didn't have any facility like the academy.
"I want to play at international level, and while coaching other kids, I will train myself here," he added.
Children, coming from different areas of the district, have expressed their happiness over the academy.
"I am studying while playing at the academy. We want to thank the district collector, besides that our coaches also support and help us," said one of the students. (ANI)