Former Indian track and field sprinter Milkha Singh said it was the responsibility of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to produce star athletes for which the Union government could not be held responsible.
Talking to newsmen during a press meet at Indore Press Club on Sunday, he said the government should hold talks with IOA and ask it to frame a “time-bound plan” so that India can produce world champions.
The ‘Flying Sikh’ insisted that athletics should be introduced as a compulsory sport in all schools and also made a part of the curriculum.
Joining the debate over returning of awards to protest against rising ‘intolerance’ in country, the legendary athlete said, he did not buy such a theory.
“Awards are given to individuals for their performance, so it doesn’t make sense to return them,” he claimed.
Several authors, artistes and historians have returned their awards recently to protest against what they call as “rising intolerance” in the country.
Earlier Singh was quoted saying: “If today, I get up and say that I want to return my Padma Shri, then my son (ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh) will also talk on similar lines, but how is it going to help things and set the system right, about which they (those who talk of intolerance) feel it is so?” Milkha asked.
The hockey wizard also said former hockey player Major Dhyan Chand deserved Bharat Ratna. “The question is not why (cricketer) Sachin Tendulkar got it. What I am saying is that Major Dhyan Chand should have got it first,” Singh said.