Delighted at the encouraging performance of the Indian athletes in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, sports minister M.S. Gill Friday promised the athletes to continue with same support until the 2012 London Olympics.
The sports ministry shelled out a whopping Rs.678 crore for the athletes' preparations for the Commonwealth Games in October here, where India cornered 101 medals, including 38 gold, to finish second in the medals tally for the first time.
A month later, Indian athletes registered their best performance in the Asian Games too with 13 gold. "I took the office on April 5, 2008, and soon after I went to the prime minister and asked for more money for the athletes' coaching. At that time, the budget was Rs.40 crore or even less. By mid-July and August, the government increased this to Rs.678 crore. Twenty crore were spent on the foreign coaches. The government made a long jump in their support. We will give them the same support until the London Games," Gill said at a function organised by the industry lobby FICCI.