Rijiju wants India to focus on swimming to excel in Olympics

India will have to focus on aquatic sports, especially swimming if the country wants to excel in Olympic Games, union sports minister Kiren Rijiju said.

Kiren-Rijiju

Rijiju said India needs to act fast to be competitive in water sports in 2028 Games.   -  Getty Images

India will have to focus on aquatic sports, especially swimming if the country wants to excel in Olympic Games, union sports minister Kiren Rijiju said on Thursday.

Insisting that success in swimming is pivotal for any country in the Olympics because of the number of medals the sport offers, Rijiju said India needs to act fast to be competitive in water sports in 2028 Games.

“Historically, the top countries in the Olympics have bagged a large number of medals in swimming. In the last five Olympics, USA has won about 31 per cent of its total medals in swimming,” he said.

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“There is a great opportunity for any country because of the sheer number of events that take place in aquatics. Today, we don’t stand anywhere in swimming at the Olympic level but there is a huge potential in the sport if we act with dedication, proper planning and adequate resources.”

The sports minister was addressing swimming coaches from across the country, participating in an online knowledge enhancement workshop organised jointly by the Sports Authority of India and the Swimming Federation of India (SFI).

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“I don’t see any reason why India should lag behind. In the 2021 Olympics we do not have the strength to win medals in swimming, but we can start preparing for the 2028 Olympics,” Rijiju said.

The minister asked the SFI to create a roadmap and start scouting for talents to make this goal possible.

“There are some facilities that are world-class, the facility of JSW and the Army Institute in Pune which are very good, but we need many more such private academies to come forward to create more facilities.”