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BCCI sponsors India’s Olympic dreams

cricket Updated: Mar 15, 2008 03:21 IST
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If India wins a medal in archery or judo in the next Commonwealth Games or Olympics, you might have to thank the country’s cricket board.

For the mega-rich BCCI has tied up with the funds-deprived sports ministry to help sponsor the training and development of sportspersons in five disciplines to improve India’s prospects in Olympic sport.

Joint Secretary (Sports) I. Srinivasan told Hindustan Times that a decision to this effect was taken during a meeting between Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and BCCI chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar a few days ago. The unique scheme will be launched by March end.

“Under the scheme, the BCCI and the sports ministry will contribute Rs 25 crore each towards the National Sports Development Fund, which encourages public-private partnership in sports. This will be applicable to five disciplines — archery, boxing, judo, swimming and weightlifting,” Srinivasan said.

About two years ago, the BCCI set aside a corpus of Rs 50 crore to help sportspersons in disciplines other than cricket. The thought was noble — to use some of the huge money generated by cricket to help its “poorer cousins”.

The ministry plans to set up independent nodal agencies for each discipline to identify the potential of players over the next three years and chart out a plan for their training and development. “It will take a couple of months for everything to fall in place,” Srinivasan said. He said the scheme would also be treated as a pilot project to attract corporates towards other sports. “We hope this is just the start,” he said.

BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said, “It will surely help athletes excel at international events, starting with the 2010 Commonwealth Games.”