Rathore: Idea is to make Khelo India aspirational for youngsters

With an elaborate Talent Identification Committee, a system has been put in place to identify 538 athletes from the Games for support to the tune of five lakh rupees a year each.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore with footballer IM Vijay at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

For the 70-odd Arjuna award winners, Dronacharya awardees and Khel Ratnas, it was a thrilling experience to see the overwhelming talent emerging from the Khelo India School Games, projected across the country through world class television coverage.

With an elaborate Talent Identification Committee, a system has been put in place to identify 538 athletes from the Games for support to the tune of five lakh rupees a year each.

‘’The idea of having all these stalwarts watching these Games and focusing on young talent is to have a strong pool of talent leading up to the Olympics in 2024, 2028 and so on’’, said the Union Sports Minister, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who addressed the media at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Khelo India to have separate women’s championship in future

‘’The idea is to make it aspirational for youngsters. They can come through School Games to College Games and so on till they get to compete in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics’’, the Minister observed.

Even though 462 more athletes would be added in due course of time to make it 1000 athletes from this year, the Minister stated that more athletes could get support if they were found to be deserving. To the present number of 16 disciplines more games would be added after a thorough study of the demands and requirements.

Olympic bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari, Kunjarani Devi, Jagbir Singh, IM Vijayan, boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, Mansher Singh were some of the talent spotters. There have also been other stalwarts like PT Usha and Sushil Kumar making their observations about the talent on view.

ALSO READ: Haryana's Manu Bhaker sets new national record at Khelo India

‘’There is so much talent in weightlifting at the junior level, it is unbelievable. If these children are given the right support, they will become champions’’, Malleswari said.

Hockey Olympian Jagbir Singh hit the nail on the head by saying, ‘’The school level sports have often been neglected. This is the perfect opportunity to create a platform for the future. Regular competitions at this level and the right benefits will go a long way’’.

ALSO READ: TN tops athletics medal table

Dronacharya awardee boxing coach Gurbax Sandhu stressed that the emerging talent together with the available pool of talent, could take Indian sport a lot forward.

‘’With the presence of sport on TV and the benefits that are coming their way, it is not only the youngsters but also their parents who are looking at sport as a great career opportunity’’, coach Sandhu remarked.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :