Sports minister wants India to focus on Olympic events

Kiren Rijiju said that as the sports minister his main focus is to ensure maximum participation and medals from the Indian athletes in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Sports minister Kiren Rijiju holds the Special Olympics torch along with athletes at his residence in New Delhi.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

For India to become a sporting powerhouse, the country's athletes will have to win more medals in mega events and inspire youth to take up Olympic sports, Kiren Rijiju, sports minister, said on Friday.

“We are a big country, we shouldn’t lag behind in any discipline in Olympics. We need to be at the top and not at the back. A developing nation like India must focus on Olympic sports,” Rijiju told reporters while he received the torch of the Special Olympics International Football Championship (SOIFC) 2019, to be held in Chennai from August 3 to 6.

Rijiju said that as the sports minister his main focus is to ensure maximum participation and medals from the Indian athletes in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I have mentioned in the Parliament that our preparation for Tokyo Olympics is going well. I am monitoring it myself. We are coordinating with each and every federation. I am also talking to all the TOPS athletes to ensure maximum number of Indian athletes qualify for the Olympics,” he said.

“And once we qualify, our target will be to win medals. In Rio Olympics we got just a silver and a bronze. After that the Hon’ble Prime Minister has formed a task force, whose recommendations we have got,” Rijiju added.