India looking beyond the Tokyo Olympics to emerge sports power: Kiren Rijiju

MOODBIDRI: India is looking beyond the Tokyo Olympics That is eight months away. Certain policies have been implemented to ensure that India emerges as a sports superpower through the successive celebration of university, school and youth games so that the true sports talent of India is identified and nurtured for the Olympic Games in Paris and Los Angeles, he said Kiren Rijiju , minister of youth affairs and sports and minority affairs, Thursday

Opening 80 All interuniversity athletics of India championship organized by the University of Health Sciences Rajiv Gandhi and the Alva Education Foundation, Rijiju said that Khelo India Games In Guwahati, university games in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, followed by the Khelo India school games, will complete a range of planned sports activities to identify Olympic potentials. These events aim to achieve the much needed sports culture, he said.

Noting that no nation can produce Olympic champions overnight, Rijiju said it takes a cycle of at least 8 to 10 years to do so. "As a nation of young people, India cannot content itself with just one or two medals at the Olympics," he said adding the ministry is doing everything to ensure that athletes selected or those who will be selected for Tokyo Olympics get the best possible training and facilities and that he has talked to all sports bodies concerned.

Urging the need to change the way India sees sports, Rijiju said he has appealed to all members of parliament, regardless of their age to play or support any sport of their choice. While some practice sports par excellence, others do it to be fit, he said, adding that India has had a great sporting tradition, which unfortunately has not translated into a culture. It is imperative that the new India practice sports if it wants to be a suitable India and not remain as 'unfit India'.

The ministry for human resources development has already announced a program for Fit School. MHRD sees sports not as an extracurricular activity, but as part of academics, he said that even the University Grants Commission has scheduled in time for sports activities in the academic calendar he has announced.

It is also my call to corporate India to join this effort and become part of the Fit India movement, promoted by the prime minister, he said.

Urging all state governments to adopt favorable sports policies, Rijiju said his ministry has made the decision to ensure that no athlete who has represented India at the highest level is forced to endure a life of hardship.

We will help them by providing medical assistance for themselves and their family, he said, adding that the heads of these athletes who may or may not have won medals for the nation may not be hung in shame or need.