Commonwealth Games success tops Gill's agenda
His predecessor Mani Shankar Aiyar was not particularly impressed by the idea of India hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games but new Sports Minister MS Gill on Tuesday made it clear that making the event a grand success would top his agenda.
After taking over the ministerial reins, Gill said his priority would be to ensure that the 2010 Games proved a massive success.
"Now that we have been entrusted with the responsibility of hosting the Commonwealth Games, we have to make sure that it proves a big success," Gill said.
Aiyar, who was at loggerheads with the Indian Olympic Association for the major part of his stint as Sports Minister, was sceptical of the entire exercise and famously said events like these were of little consequence to common people.
Gill, meanwhile, was pained by the huge financial gap between cricketers and other sportspersons and promised to take up the case of pension for needy athletes.
"Money is showered on cricketers but athletes who win medals in Asian or other international meets don't get similar treatment. Appearing in a photograph with the Prime Minister and that's it," he rued.
"I want the Government to do something for them. Government spends a lot of money on sports and I think needy athletes should get pension," Gill said.
He said television had changed the face of cricket, bringing in huge riches, which had an adverse effect on other sports.
On the autonomy of national sports federations, Gill said he was aware of the Olympic charter but asserted the Government too was a stakeholder.
"I know there is this Olympic charter but traditionally, Government has always played an important role. After all, it's the Government which spends crores of rupees," he said.