Wrestlers practice the three thousand year old sport known as Kushti, a form of wrestling, in its traditional form at the fight club at Chattarshal Stadium in New Delhi. HT/Raj k Raj
With eyes firmly set on the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Prime Minister’s Office has decided to give a boost to young athletes. The government plans to collaborate with the corporate sector to spot talent early and fund the education and training of budding sportspersons.
The blueprint is expected to land on PM Manmohan Singh’s table for approval soon. According to sources, once Singh approves the general direction the government should take, the sports ministry will be asked to come up with a formal plan.
The blueprint suggests holding competitions at district, state and national levels to spot talent, and ensuring that those selected get financial assistance from the government as well as the private sector.
A government official said this is the “first comprehensive attempt” to tap our potential and increase India’s medal tally at international sporting events such as the Olympics. “You will be able to see the difference at the next Olympics,” he said.
During this year’s London Olympics, India competed in 13 sports and won six medals. While we didn’t win any gold, the event showed that with the right training, India’s sports stars have the potential to bring back more medals.
The mud games
The plan is also in line with the government’s focus on the youth. “Sports is an important area for youth development,” a PMO source said.