Hyderabad: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the target 2028, where he announced that India would be among top 10 finishers in 2028 Olympics, is a very ambitious project and they are committed to make it possible.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launching of Bhaichung Bhutia Football School’s app enJogo, the minister said that it is time to harness the talent rather than speaking about India having a lot of potential. “We are very committed to our project and leaving no stone unturned. We have five zonal committees with experts and former players for talent scouting. We all know India has a lot of potential but this is the time to harness the talent and provide facilities to build champions for the future.
“After Prime Minister formed the Olympic Task Force in 2018, we have set targets to chalk out plans. As part of it, we have identified 400 athletes through Target Olympic Podium (TOPS) seniors and juniors. While athletes in the senior category will be provided with Rs 50,000 per month, the juniors will get Rs 25,000 per month as stipend. So the training is free and he is also earning. That takes care of the financial trouble. If we start the preparations now, the junior athletes will be at their peak by 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles where we can fulfill our dream,” he added.
He also said that the government is dedicated to make the country a sporting power house. “We have also added 20 more disciplines for the job quota system which is a major breakthrough. We are also working to make a strong base in terms of coaching as well. We have 1500 new coaching posts and promoting coaching as well. We took out the cap of Rs 2 lakh to Indian coaches. Now they can earn more depending on their work and they can be appointed as High Performance Directors as well. The dependency on foreign coaches will reduce in future and more local coaches will emerge.”
Speaking about the Women’s Under-17 FIFA World Cup, he said, “We have made all arrangements. The venues are ready and waiting for the schedule. Once the calendar is out, we are ready to host it. It will be a defining moment for Indian football.”
He also said the Khelo India and Fit India movements are crucial in making the country a power house in the future. When asked about when the spectators can be allowed into the stadium, he said, “It depends on the local State government as well. Since the pandemic situation is different in different States, we can’t give a particular date on when to allow spectators. I want it to happen as soon as possible. We have given guidelines on resumption of sports. States must follow them.”
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