Rathore: 'National School and College Games in Dec and Jan'

Delivering his speech at a felicitation function for the Indian football team ahead of the U—17 World Cup, beginning here on Friday, Rathore said the youth of this country will have to be provided platforms to show their talent.

India sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore gave a pep talk to the Indian team ahead of its opening encounter at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.   -  PTI

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today announced the launch of National School and College Games in December and January next year respectively to tap talent from every nook and corner of the country.

Delivering his speech at a felicitation function for the Indian football team ahead of the U—17 World Cup, beginning here on Friday, Rathore said the youth of this country will have to be provided platforms to show their talent.

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“The way we looked at sports will have to be changed. All the stakeholders will have to be involved in taking Indian sports to a new level. The government will provide the platform for the young people to take up sports,” he said.

“In this regard, the government has decided to start for the first time the Khelo India National School Games in December 2017 and Khelo India National College Games in January 2018. These will be annual events. This we are doing to tap talent at the school and college levels. Without doing this we will not be able to nurture talent,” Rathore added.

READ: U-17 World Cup: hoping for buds and blossoms!

He said the corporate houses will be involved in this endeavour and the Games will be telecast live.

Elaborating the plan of the government, the sports minister said, “We want to hold these Games in a big way like the Asian Games or Pan American Games. From these Games, 1000 children will be selected and be given Rs 5 lakh for eight years for their training and each year 1000 children more will be added.

“These days miracles do not happen in sports. We have to find out young talents and nurture them so that miracles happen.”

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Rathore, who bagged an individual silver medal in men’s double trap shooting event at the 2004 Athens Olympics, asked the India U—17 football team to play for the silverware in the upcoming marquee event.

“You, the U—17 players can inspire the nation with what you do on the football field. The game you play now will be etched in memory. You (India) may have qualified automatically as the hosts, but that should not deter you from surprising the other teams by winning matches.

“You should play each game as the last match of your life and should never give up. Every moment counts and you are there to win and you will play the games to win. Once you step on the field you should be aggressive and play to win,” said Rathore while speaking to the Indian players, who listened with rapt attention.

The Minister advised the team members to motivate themselves by remembering the hardships they had to endure before reaching this stage.

“When you enter the field, you should remember the most ridiculous things people may have said about you in the past, all the pains you have suffered in your efforts to reach up to here and all the late night dribbles with the ball that has become a part of your life,” said Rathore.

“You are not playing for Manipur or Bengal or Goa but you are playing for India. I wish you all the very best in the FIFA U—17 World Cup.”

All the 21 players were introduced to the sports minister and captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam received a memento on behalf of the team.

Later speaking to the reporters, Rathore said Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was handed over to the Local Organising Committee according to schedule and the game's apex body -FIFA- was happy with the facilities.

“FIFA is the organiser of this tournament and we have handed over the JLN to the LoC much earlier. FIFA is happy with the preparation of the facility,” he said.

He also said that ticket sales of the U—17 World Cup were satisfactory.

“The ticket sales in all the six venues was very good. We actually held on the sale of the tickets so that we can reserve some for the children. We want children to watch the matches in large numbers,” said Rathore.

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