The talent scouts in the country should look beyond the big cities to spot budding youngsters who could bring laurels to the country in international sporting arena, Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Tuesday.
"The net we throw to catch talent is generally limited to the metro cities. It has to be spread wider," Aiyar said.
He was addressing a conference of various stakeholders on the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Aiyar said the authorities needed to go to remote areas of the country and find a bigger pool of youngsters.
"The Sports Authority of India is currently training 10,000 people. Cuba, which is smaller than Delhi, trains 1,00,000 sportspersons," the minister said.
"The drive needs to get into every village of the country. Towards this endeavour, the Sports Ministry has started a Panchayat Yuva Khel Abhiyan."
He said the scheme would start with an outlay of Rs 1,000 crore and would focus on the neglected areas to spot talented youngsters.
"Under this scheme, we will not concentrate on expensive sports such as cricket, tennis and hockey. Rather, we will devote our energies to catching talents in games like football, volleyball and athletics which do not need too much expenditure on infrastructure," Aiyar said.
"We plan to keep it as cheap as possible to begin with."
"Out of 65 crore children, adolescents and youngsters in the country, only three crore have access to proper sporting facilities. In such a situation, we cannot hope to make a mark in international sporting scenario."
To tide over the resource crunch, community-based sports facility is the need of the hour, Aiyar said.
He said the Delhi edition of the Commonwealth Games should be used as a platform to attract more youngsters towards sports, which would benefit the country in the long run.
"Towards that end, the 2010 Commonwealth Games need to create a legacy to bring more and more people into the realm of sports," the minister added.
"To be at a level comparable to the Manchester Games, we need to raise an amount that is six-seven times their expenditure in current rupee terms and the private sector has to be an equal partner in this regard," Aiyar said.
He divided the income accruing from the Games under the heads of TV rights, sponsorship, ticketing, licensing, concession and accommodation.
"Sponsorship can fetch Rs 1,000 crore at the most as one is not sure how much money can be generated under this head," Aiyar said.
Sponsors needed to be convinced of the long-term business benefits they can get by supporting the Games, said the minister.
He also said that most of the tickets for the Games should be sold in Delhi and adjoining areas as it was difficult for a large number of visitors to come for the event from other parts of the country and abroad.
"For the Manchester Games, only 1.4 per cent of the tickets were sold abroad. The figure is expected to be even lower for Delhi as it was unlikely that a large number of people would come from the neighbouring countries," he said.
The infrastructure development for the Games was a big business opportunity for corporate and the construction activity planned in this regard alone was worth Rs 5,000 crore, Aiyar added.