Ministry plans to have 'India House' at the Tokyo Games

PUNE: When young shooter. Saurabh Chaudhary He went to Taoyuan, Taipei, for the Asian Airgun Championships earlier this year, it cost him a lot to find the food of his choice there. Being a vegetarian, the Meerut shooter could not eat most of the food that was available at the hotel or not.

No wonder, the shooter could not win a medal, breaking a streak of seven successive gold medals.

But things can be easier for Saurabh and other Indian athletes when they participate in the Tokyo 2020 The Olympic Games as the sports ministry have decided to make Indian food available in the village of the Games next year.

Minister of sports Kiren Rijiju , who was in Pune on Sunday, told TOI exclusively that the ministry is planning to create a place for Indian athletes in Tokyo, as well as at other important international events in the future.

“In international events, our athletes must be given food which they are provided as per their choice in our country. We must make it available wherever they go. For Tokyo 2020 also, we are going to make 'India House' (in the Games Village) to ensure we address their food-related needs along with providing technical support to the athletes as well as the officials,” Rijiju, who came to the city to visit the Army Sports Institute (ASI).

That is why I am taking the experience first hand when visiting these emblematic sports establishments in the country, added the sports minister.

The sports minister is visiting several sports facilities in the country along with the centers of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and is eating at least one meal there. Before coming to Pune, he stopped in Calcutta for a few hours and ate the same food that was made for the athletes in the Eastern Center of the SAI.

Diet is the integral part of a player's performance. During my visit to the National Sports Institute, Patiala, I observed that young athletes were given a certain variety of foods, while older adults were given a different category. The budgetary allocation of food was made on the basis of age groups. I have learned that all players require different types of food. We have decided to allocate the diet budget according to the athlete's requirement, as well as according to the diet prescribed by nutritionists or dietitians (and not by age), said Rijiju.

Since taking over the office in May, Rijiju has been visiting several sports centers throughout the country.

I have tried to capture some of those institutes and centers where we have the best potential and we can obtain immediate results. These are those low fruits that we need to pick up. The ASI is well known and has also given us results. I am impressed with the way the army has handled and given all kinds of support to produce world-class athletes. We will see what we can do with the ministry and the army, to further improve the center.

This is one of the few centers in India that we depend on for medals at international meetings, said the sports minister to TOI.

On whether the ministry will collaborate more with the army to strengthen sports in the country, Rijiju said: Our forces are our greatest strength. Both the Indian army and the (other) central armed forces have a very good sporting tradition. They have shown results. We will see how we can use their culture and integrate them more to put them in line with our policy.