Para-athletes will be considered for Khel Ratna from next year, says Sports Minister

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Para-athletes will be considered for Khel Ratna from next year, says Sports Minister

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SportsCafe Desk

09/18/2016

Sports Minister Vijay Goel has confirmed that para-athletes will be considered for the Khel Ratna award from next year onwards. Goel has also assured that the Government is “determined to give a new direction” to sports, and believes that the nation needs more “Gopis to produce more Sindhus”.

While on his visit to a couple of academies of Gopi Chand, Vijay Goel was asked about whether the Indian Paralympics medal winners will be considered for the Khel Ratna award. Goel said that it was never an issue. He went on to counter the question by directing a question of his own towards PV Sindhu, who was accompanying him.

“I will ask you whether you would prefer an Olympic medal or a Khel Ratna Award,” Goel asked Sindhu. To which the Rio Olympics silver medallist replied that she preferred the medal. “Now you got the answer from the athlete herself,” the Minister said, reported the Hindu.

Goel has also confirmed that the Government is working towards improving sports in this nation. He said, “The Government is determined to give a new direction to sports and we will put in place long-term action plan very soon.

“We are making an in depth study of the report and making a serious introspection on the post-Rio Olympics scenario. We are thankful to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for all the support being extended to the Sports Ministry.

“With regard to Sports Authority of India centres, a conscious effort is on to upgrade the facilities in all the major centres though there cannot be specific plans for a particular centre.”

Goel praised the academies of Gopi Chand, labeling them as ‘world class’ facilities.

“I can tell you we need more Gopis to produce more Sindhus. If we can find say 20 Gopis we can change the sports scene in the country itself.

“I must say that I am really glad that I have visited two academies today which are world class and have such an excellent administrative set-up in place.

“Credit should go to Gopi’s wife Lakshmi and to his mother (Subbaravamma).

“India needs more such academies. Next month we are launching a portal —sportstalentsearch.com — on which all the athletes from juniors to seniors can upload their achievements with even the coaches giving all the details about their achievements.

“Then, based on merit, we will try to accommodate the talented in academies in respective disciplines for more organised training and exposure,” he added.

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