New Delhi: The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with the Youth Services and Sports department of the Government of Himachal Pradesh is set to build India’s first-ever SAI National Centre of Excellence to train athletes in Mountain Terrain Biking and Bicycle Motocross in Shimla.

The NCOE is being set up to provide world-class training facilities to Indian cyclists so that they can compete for the 18 Olympic medals in the disciplines of MTB and BMX.

The centre, one of the best high-altitude training facilities in the world, at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level, will have world-class infrastructure, a state-of-art sports science high-performance centre, Olympic-level track and coaches of international repute, where India’s best cyclists and local sporting talent can train.

Owing to the requirement of the sport for hilly terrain and a suitable climate for training, Shimla emerged as a preferred choice for the NCOE.       

With the setting up of SAI NCOE, Himachal becomes the torchbearer of MTB and BMX training in India and a possible venue for future World Championships for the two cycling disciplines.

The NCOE, which will have the capacity to train around 200 cyclists for Olympic-level preparations, will be equipped with 1 XCO Olympic level track, 1 training track with specialized features, 1 BMX track, 1 state-of-the-art indoor gymnasium, an indoor setup with virtual trainers, hostel facilities for 100 athletes, coaches and support staff. Besides, there will be a High-Performance Center for Sports Science with state-of-the-art facilities such as an indoor recovery pool, steam and sauna, strength and conditioning hall, a biomech lab, physiotherapy, anthropometry. High-end equipment such as breath and lactic analysers, heart rate monitors, treadmills, bicycle ergometers will also be available for athletes to use during their training. 

The collaboration between the centre and the state to set up this world-class facility was formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on March 23, 2022.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.