Tax breaks can bring glory at Olympics: Jindal

Published on Sep 01, 2004 11:26 AM IST

Tax incentives can bring required funds and corporate backing to the Indian sporting scene, said the national skeet shooting champ.

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PTI | ByHindol Sengupta (IANS), New Delhi

Tax incentives can bring much required funds and corporate backing to the beleaguered Indian sporting scene, said Congress MP and national skeet shooting champion Naveen Jindal who is just back from Athens.

"We must encourage corporate investment in sports," Jindal, who went along with his wife to cheer the Indian contingent at the Olympic Games, said in an interview.

"My idea is that the government should give a 200 percent tax incentive for investment in sports. So if a company pools in Rs.10 million, they should get a tax benefit on Rs.20 million.

"That's a great way to get companies to push sports."

Jindal, managing director of Jindal Steel and Power and Congress MP from Kurukshetra and the man who fought for the citizen's right to display the national flag, said his company would also be looking at a few sports.

"I am all for supporting sports and I am also going to push for sports to get its government due," said Jindal, who is also a first class polo player.

"At the moment, the government is spending 0.4 percent of GDP in sports. This should go up to one percent."

His wife, Shallu, another sports fan who plays badminton, said she would like to see Indians prepare much harder.

"Look at China, they are already prepared for the Beijing Olympics," said Shallu. "They were fantastic at Athens, I was just spellbound by their performance."

"We are a billion people but we always seem to wake up at the last moment and not prepare hard enough. We should also start preparing really hard right from now."

The Jindals are very close friends of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, 34-year-old army major who won the silver in double-trap shooting at the Olympics.

Jindal has been practicing with Rathore for the last five years and Shallu calls him by his nickname "Chili".

"I was not surprised at all when he won," said Jindal. "I knew that he was a world class shooter."

Added Shallu: "We are very proud of Chili. He is a wonderful man, very down to earth and simple. Right after he won, we had coffee together - the hockey team, (tennis aces) Leander (Paes) and Mahesh (Bhupati) were there - it was really nice."

The Jindals were part of the official Indian delegation to Athens and were there between Aug 13-22.

In spite of disappointments, Jindal said Indians should be proud of the athletes. "Each of them won a quota place in the Olympics - which means they had to fight against the best of the world even to participate in the Olympics.

"Winning and losing is part of the deal. And really, in the Olympics, there is very little difference between the first and the fifth or the seventh. And Indians are doing well.

"We have to now work very hard on our infrastructure. Often enough our athletes cannot afford the kind of nourishments and legal supplements needed to strengthen them.

"This should change."

Also, Indian athletes are great diplomats for the country. "They have really created good atmosphere in the international arena. For instance, when India was playing Netherlands in hockey, even the Pakistanis were cheering hard for us!," said Jindal.

"There are some sports like tennis and shooting and hockey where we can be number one, we are quite close by to the first spot. We should concentrate on these."

Personally, Jindal is aiming to be part of the national skeet shooting team. "Next time, by god's grace, I will be participating in the Olympics," smiled Jindal.

"He has four years to prepare really hard, so he has to start now and then we'll see," added Shallu.

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