The Indian Olympic Association president, Narinder Batra, on Sunday emphasised that a double-digit medal haul was expected of the Indian athletes in the Tokyo Olympics to be he held later this year.
Addressing a press conference, the IOA chief that a return of two medals in Rio four years ago was a bad advertisement for sport in India, a country with a population of over 1.30 billion people.
Several new schemes have been drawn up and implemented since then and with many Indian athletes performing well in the international arena over the last two years, a greater medal haul in Tokyo is quite likely. “I am not putting up a figure per se, but I think that we have the potential to make an impact and take up our tally to double figures. In 2024 (Paris), we should aim for 20 medals,” he said.
“The medals, we expect to win in Tokyo (between July 24 and August 8), should be coming from our shooters, boxers and badminton stars. I think, the Indian hockey men team, should it get its going right, too would be able to finish on the podium.
Explaining his whirlwind tour to Kerala, the IOA president said the national body was committed to hosting the National Games once every two years. “The 35th National Games were held here in 2015 and now the stage is set for the 36th edition in Goa from October 20 to November 4.
“However, we cannot afford to host these Games once in five years. We need to do it two years and though we have Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya in the pipeline, we thought it fit to explore whether Kerala, which has the infrastructure required, will be able to host the Games once again on short notice. I am travelling all over the country this month to make a study of the facilities available in every State.
“The Union Government has not been funding the National Games through its last three editions. Once my study is over, I am also planning to submit a report to the Government and find out whether funding can be restored.
The IOA was also planning to bid for the IOC Executive Board meeting in 2023 to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence and if allotted, it will be held in Mumbai. "Likewise, we are also thinking of putting up a bid for the 2026 Youth Olympics. We need to host more international tournaments so much so that our people get to see the top stars of different disciplines in action directly. We cannot emerge as a sporting nation, just by letting our people watch top-flight action on television,” the IOA president concluded.
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