What’s your favourite sport? Check out the many gaming and sporting options that Vizag has to offer.
While cricket does seem to take centre stage in Vizag, just as it does the rest of India, Vizag does have the resources for other sports as well. Like did you know that Vizag has not one but two football clubs that are at least a century old? Old-timers reminisce about how till the early 1980s, football was the mainstay in the city and not cricket. Cricket, football and many more, Vizag boasts of many sports clubs and academies which help children and adults indulge and discover their favourite sport. Clubs like the Waltair Club, Century Club and Officer’s Club apart, the YMCA on the Beach Road, the Swarna Bharati Stadium on Resapuvanipalem Road and the Port Stadium on the Highway, provide facilities to children and young people to indulge in table-tennis, basketball, volleyball, judo, karate, boxing, and badminton among other activities. YMCA also extends coaching for children regularly in indoor games like chess and carroms through summer camps every year. And the Aqua Sports Complex on the Beach Road is accessible for coaching and training in swimming and a number of water sports.
Yes, we can’t help but start with cricket. If the city has a classy international cricket stadium, it also has a number of coaching centres and open grounds for cricketing aficionados. The AU Engineering grounds generally plays host to a number of mini-matches every weekend and holiday. But to hone the talents of serious cricketers there are academia like the Vizag Cricket Academy, Kandukuri Cricket Academy, free coaching at B-Ground of ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium and many more.
Vizag has a long history with football, even before cricket dominated the playgrounds. The first football match was organised at the present Police Barracks by the then District Collector Mr Turner in the year 1888. The Sports Men Club and the Polar Star Club are at least a century old and are still active in the city. In fact, the Andhra Pradesh Football Association is also based in the city. A recent addition is the Vizag Football Club that is working towards reviving footballing in the city.
Rather than just idolise the tennis players on the idiot box, there are many tennis enthusiasts in the city who maintain their physique with a good energetic game of tennis. Young and old, this game is popular with varying age groups. The city also has quite a few coaching centres like the Babji Tennis Academy, Rao Tennis Academy, Learn Tennis Academy, and SFS Tennis Centre that train youngsters.
While every courtyard becomes a badminton court in summer, the city has specific badminton courts for serious players. A game that can be as easy or as tough and competitive as the players prefer, badminton is a game that almost every child has indulged in during the summer holidays. Membership into institutes like the Snelsar Badminton Court, l.S.N.Raju Indoor Shuttle Court and the recently opened Laqshya Badminton Academy, ensures a good game with worthy opponents.
Basketball and Volleyball
Generally encouraged in schools and colleges, the Port Stadium in the city is open for basketball and volleyball, though a pass to enter and use the facilities has to be procured. Private clubs, the AU basketball courts, gated community complexes and school courts are the best places to practice, albeit permissions need to be taken. However, the beach is open to all. Beach-volleyball is highly popular in our dear city. All you need is two teams, a net with poles to hold it up and a good ball.
With many local players skating towards national fame from Visakhapatnam, skating needs no introduction to the city. Expansive and well-maintained skating rinks at VUDA Park and Sivaji Park are hotspots for skaters. Coaches and instructors are often seen coaching and guiding their young students at these rinks. Though, with the Beach Road made a traffic-free zone every morning, many skaters and skateboarders can be seen making good use of the smooth roads in the cool morning sea breeze.
A spacious and impressive golf course is one of Vizag’s biggest assets and it is the go-to weekend spot for many active golfers including women. The 134-year-old East Point Golf Club (EPGC), has an 18-hole golf course spread over almost 100 acres. The club was started around 1884, and was located closer to the city in the area where the VUDA Park is presently located. It was shifted to its present location at Mudasarlova in 1964. Anyone interested in golfing can approach the club for monthly or life membership. This prestigious club also doubles as a social club. EPGC has over 1000 members, including several leading corporate entities.
Swimming and Aqua Sports
Every summer, most of the star hotels in the city announce swimming camps and coaching sessions. But the Aqua sports complex on the Beach Road is open throughout the year for swimming, coaching and a variety of water-sports. With separate sessions for women, the swimming pool is quite well maintained and sizeable for serious swimmers. There is a deep diving pool that is strictly maintained for skilled swimmers and a big general pool with a gradient to allow for beginners and qualified swimmers.
Kickboxing and Martial Arts
Boxing is quite an established sport in Vizag with many a gym encouraging the sport. But the latest craze is kickboxing for which many martial art centres also provide training. The Dare n Win Mixed Martial Arts Academy, Shadow Martial Arts, Indian Modern Martial Arts Academy are just a few among the many. But before you join any of the local martial arts institutes, do check the credentials of the instructor and ensure that he/she is qualified to teach.
A thinker’s game, Chess or Carroms are invariably played in almost every household in the summers – the only way to keep kids entertained and indoors on hot summer days. But for those who find solace in the game and are keen to hone their skills, there are the Chess Mother’s Chess Academy, East Coast Chess Academy, Winners Chess Academy and other such Chees Clubs in the city that not only give insights and tips to master the game, but also allow arrange a series of matches with worthy opponents.
The grounds and courts in Vizag are aplenty. The Indira Priyadarshini Municipal Corporation Stadium near one town area is the first cricket stadium in Visakhapatnam City and had hosted the first One Day International Cricket Match in the city. The Dr YSR ACA-VDCA Stadium at PM Palem, Madhurawada with test status (the 9th venue in the country with test cricket status) has hosted the Ranji Trophy matches, One day International Cricket matches and also IPL matches. Port Trust Golden Jubilee Stadium is the second-largest stadium in Visakhapatnam, which has hosted Under-19 Youth International matches. The Swarna Bharathi Indoor Stadium hosts state level/ national indoor games. There are also the GITAM university Indoor stadium, Port Golden Jubilee Indoor Stadium, Railway Stadium, Andhra University Engineering college ground, Andhra Medical college ground, Alwardas ground, Police Stadium, Ukkunagaram Stadium, Hindustan Zinc Stadium, which provide space and facilities for sports in the city.