Kiren Rijiju: Traditional and modern sports require equal attention

The new Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports is keen to “contribute to the youth of the country.”

Kiren Rijiju... “Being a minister doesn’t mean everything; it is always a question of teamwork.”   -  PTI

His workout videos are now familiar with most but new Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju has now a vastly different challenge with the Tokyo Olympics just over a year away.

Taking formal charge on Friday, Rijiju called the Olympics the pinnacle of world sports but also insisted that other competitions — Asian Games, Commonwealth and other major events including the National Games — were equally important.

However, he refrained from commenting on participation policies for some of the qualifying events India is likely to host.

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“I cannot comment on the affairs of the ministry; I am yet to be briefed by my officers in terms of immediate requirement of jobs, policies vision, etc. But there is something called continuity. Good things from the past should be carried on and new things to be added, if they are good. Being a minister doesn’t mean everything; it is always a question of teamwork, which is the essence of any success,” Rijiju said in his first interaction with the media.

‘Soft ministry’

Asserting the power of youth, he said the MYAS was an important part of the government. “I feel this is one of the most important ministries where we can galvanise the youth, who are the power of the country. In my earlier role (as MoS for Home) it was a different way of working;. Here it will be completely different. This is a soft ministry and is more about youth and a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the youth of the country,” he said.


Rijiju also indicated that Khelo India — a brainchild of outgoing Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore — would continue and spread to more parts of the country after reviews. “Once you start work, then the performance will be determined on the basis of how much you can give to the ministry and how much understanding you have.

“Both traditional sports in villages and modern Olympic sports need equal attention and support. Rathore is a good friend and I spoke to him just now. We are a team. After understanding the ministry, I will go ahead with the Khelo India or anything else in all parts of the country,” he said.

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