Rahul Bhatnagar leaves Indian sports in a healthy state

Union Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar takes leave of his department to join Ministry of Panchayati Raj after having served for a period of one and half years.

Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar (second from left) with Union Sports Minister Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore and school kids at the launch of the Khelo India School Games logo at the Nehru Stadium in Delhi.   -  Special Arrangement

Union Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar takes leave of his department to join Ministry of Panchayati Raj after having served for a period of one and half years. His replacement will be Radheyshyam Julaniya, a 1985 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre.

“I leave with lot of satisfaction. You can say on a high note for many reasons,” Bhatnagar, a former Joint Secretary in the Sports Ministry, told Sportstar.

An officer of the 1983 batch from Uttar Pradesh cadre, Bhatnagar had served Sports Authority of India and National Anti Doping Agency as the director.

“Lot of good things have happened. India excelled at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. We assisted in the organisation of a few international events (Hockey World Cup and AIBA World Women's Boxing). Our sportsmen came up with commendable performance at these events. Khelo India Games were able to take off successfully. The process of talent identification and development at grass-root level has been strengthened. I am happy to say that parents and teachers want the children to play. We have given dignity to the sporting fraternity,” said Bhatnagar.

From establishing the National Sports University at Imphal in last January to introducing sports medicine courses at six Medical Colleges, the Sports Ministry, in Bhatnagar's opinion, had made tremendous progress. “I can say with confidence that Indian sports has come of age. It is part of the consciousness of the Indian people. Sport is now uppermost in the consciousness of the Indian. The National Sports Federations are more sensitive to the needs and ambitions of the sportsmen. Sports culture is building up,” he noted.

Bhatnagar, 59, believed the state of Indian sports was in a “healthy” state. “Experts have worked hard to give Indian sport a gleaming image. TOPS is a scheme which has shown the way forward. The process of creating a champion is far more organised and scientific. The bench strength is strong and that reflects the state of Indian sport,” Bhatnagar stressed.

Support from stakeholders, corporates and NGOs, was a key area which Bhatnagar said was a plus point of his tenure. “ I am flooded with requests from all over to be associated with our  programmes. I want to assure the sportsmen that there will not be any shortage of funding, equipment, coaching and competition experience. It is all very well structured now. Sky is the limit for them. I am looking forward to see India emerge a country to contend with in international sports.”