Rijiju: Sporting events could restart in a few months

Kiren Rijiju also added that the government wants all athletes, not just the top ones, to resume training as soon as possible.

Kiren Rijiju wants India in the top 10 at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.   -  PTI

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said the country should be ready to host some sporting events in a couple of months.

Speaking on an Instagram chat with Indian table tennis star Manika Batra, he also added that the government wants all athletes, not just the top ones, to resume training as soon as possible.

The Sports Authority of India has already drawn up the Standard Operating Procedure regarding resuming sporting activities. However, Rijiju stressed that the main priority remains health and safety of the athletes.

“Keeping that in mind, I’m very much in support of creating a better atmosphere to start the sporting events as soon as possible. This pandemic has created a big obstacle for us,” he said.

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Rijiju said sport is a huge employment-generated industry and he wants it to flourish.

“Lakhs of people are associated with sport, with manufacturing, organising events, leagues. Commercially sport is a big industry.”

“I’m trying my best to ensure that not only the top athletes but all the players get back to the field. I will try to start as soon as possible.

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“I’ve already given permission for resumption of practice and training sessions but it will take some more time to have the competitive games.”

Mission 2028 Olympics

Rijiju further spoke about his mission 2028 Olympics and hoped that India would be in top 10 in Los Angeles.

“The 2024 Games is mid-term goal but the long term is 2028. When I became sports minister I had very limited talents, potential Olympic medalists. In 2024, we will have a potential team which can get us maximum medals.

“But in 2028 I’ve made my mind very clear we have to be in top-10. And I’m not saying just like that. Our preparation has started.”

“Junior athletes are our future champions, we have started our preparation in a solid way. We will see results in 2024 and will make rapid progress.

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“But mark my words, India will be in top-10 in 2028. We are creating a conducive atmosphere, support staff towards that,” he added.

Rijiju said he has already laid the foundation of it by supporting junior athletes programmes.

“To create a world champ it will take four to eight years. I’ve laid the foundation now. We have started junior coaching very professionally. We are providing best possible coaching and technical support. It will require four to eight years to become champion.”

Rijiju said that they cleared all the dues of the athletes even during the lockdown.

“We have not stopped the stipends. We have released the money for all the junior athletes too. We have cleared all of them and not a penny is pending.”

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