Rijiju: Time to give Indian sportspersons a better way of life

Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, reiterated the Government's stand to make the country a “sporting powerhouse” by improving the financial capabilities of the talented sportspersons.

Kiren Rijiju

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju during a media interaction. (File Photo)   -  PTI

The Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Kiren Rijiju, reiterated the Government's stand to make the country a “sporting powerhouse” by improving the financial capabilities of the talented sportspersons.

“I am here to empower the people who are doing it for sports. So I will definitely do whatever it takes to ensure that the dream to make India a grand sporting powerhouse is fulfilled,” Rijiju said while attending an online session to launch the football training app, enJogo, which has been designed by Bhaichung  Bhutia Football School.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had created the Olympic task force, which came up with certain recommendations and solutions. We have identified close to 400 young athletes. These young athletes are in the 10-12 years age bracket. These athletes will be given a stipend which no other country does,” the sports minister said.

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This decision comes from the idea to empower the sportspersons financially right from the start.

“I have seen many former footballers and sportspersons who represented India, suffering due to financial distress. As a minister I cannot be proud if former international players are living in indigence,” he said. “That is why even the young athletes under the TOPS junior programme are getting Rs. 25,000 each as stipend, which is outside the cost the government is incurring for their training,” Rijiju said while adding that the senior athletes under the TOPS scheme are already getting Rs. 50,000 as stipend. “We are also urging the corporate world to ensure that there is a system that gives sportspersons better incentives to ensure them a better way of life.”

“These are things which we need to work on. Take for example in boxing there are thousands from where only a few will represent India. Everybody celebrates success, but nobody understands the pain of failure. Those who are unable to make the cut should they be just left to themselves? No, that is why we are looking to start at the base and are supporting them with financial resources. I am also calling on the corporate world to ensure there are enough leagues and tournaments to ensure better incentives for a large number of sportspersons. We need to give the sportspersons a better way of life and bring up the level of excellence," he said.

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The Sports Minister reiterated that the Government is seriously pursuing the initiatives like the target of top-10 finish in 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and the formation of five zonal committees to broaden the talent base of Indian football. He also mentioned the initiative to include 20 more disciples in the sports quota of government jobs.

“With enJogo, we have the ability to cross physical barriers and give every child the chance to learn and practice the game that they love,” former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia said about the innovative training app launched by his academy.

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