Sports minister: Want to give respect, provide resources to our athletes

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Sports minister: Want to give respect, provide resources to our athletes

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SportsCafe Desk


Sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has stated that the government will provide all sorts of playing facilities to Indian children through "Khelo India" program. He also announced that through National Talent Portal, the government will provide 1000 athletes Rs 5 lakhs each every year.

After collectively hanging our heads in shame following the Rio Olympics debacle, Indian citizens muttered a few expletives at the Government and demanded better sports administrators and infrastructures. Despite the need for an immediate change in the system in the way sports are organized in the nation by the government, it remained a fluke for a long time since and the announcement of "Khelo India" mostly remained within files.

But, after 2004 Athens Olympics medalist Rathore becoming India's sports and youth affairs minister, a flicker of hope has been born and he has stated that he will live up to the faith. Speaking to TOI, Rathore stated that, "As an activity of governance, sports has been neglected for years. Now, everything we are doing is to bring it back into prominence. Schemes like Khelo India, Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme and bringing in a Sports Code will go a long way in achieving this."

"Earlier, it was all about building the infrastructure, new stadiums. Who plays there, who maintains it was nobody's business. Khelo India is all about the development of soft skills. A huge amount of money is going into creating platforms for excellence. We are developing coaches at all levels.

"There has to be a bank of coaches and a single database to monitor their training and the upgradation of skills.Foreign coaches will come and train our coaches too. You will have community coaches - at all levels. If you go to a training centre in a small town and a coach makes tall clams, you can check on our database. These are all private coaches I am talking about. We will take the courses to these men and women. We will be the certifying agency. It will be of international standard."

Many talented sportsmen had to leave out the game midway due to the lack of sponsorship money and opportunities. The guardians have also discouraged their wards to shun the sports due to huge monetary problems. But Rathore believes that through National Talent Portal, they will try to reach as many talented children and will give them the infrastructure to play sports.

"Through our National Talent Portal, we will identify 1000 athletes every year. We will give them Rs 5 lakh each every year, for eight years.Today, parents look desperately for sponsorship and they don't get it."

"We are creating centres of excellence (CoE). We are willing to tie up with anyone - with private entities, corporates, NGOs, semi-govt, govt agencies. They will partner us in hunting for talent, manage and create centres of excellence. All this will be done by professionals. This will be run partly by government officers - as money is involved - but major work will be done by private managers. It will not be run by bureaucrats. As for the TOP scheme, the PM had put up the Olympic Task Force (OTF) which will be run by professionals."

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