MK Stalin's vision for sports in TN: Balancing traditional sports with Olympic aspirations

Speaking at Sportstar's South Sports Conclave in Chennai on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said the Conclave could not come at a better time, given the strides the TN government is making in sports - from success in international events to hosting the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad. Listen to the CM's full speech here.

Published : Jun 29, 2022 15:49 IST

Here is the full transcript of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin's keynote address at the Sportstar South Sports Conclave in Chennai.


I convey my greetings to all the dignitaries in attendance for the South Sports Conclave organised by Sportstar.

Mr. K N Nehru, Minister for Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply of Tamil Nadu, Mr. K Ponmudi, Minister for Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Murali, Director of The Hindu Group, Chairperson of The Hindu Group, who took the stage before me this morning, Dr Malini Parthasarathy, Mr N Srinivasan, Managing Director of the India Cements Group, Mr. Ayon Sengupta, CEO MR. LV Navaneeth, World Champion Chess Grandmaster Mr Viswanathan Anand, all players, coaches, administrators and entrepreneurs participating in this conclave, journalists and officials from The Hindu Group and all other friends from the media, I convey my heartfelt greetings to you all.

After the Government changed in Tamil Nadu and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Government formed at the State, we have been bringing in a number of policies and working on key areas as everyone knows.

Specifically, we have been setting up a Dravida Model Government as is clear in our endeavours. That means, growth for everyone, for all sections and all districts and in all areas. Beyond that, it means growth for all sections of society. This is the base on which our Government was formed and runs.

A few look at development as only economic growth. Growth has a definition that goes beyond the short-term and narrow scope of the concept of development. In that aspect, the Tamil Nadu Government is working hard towards holistic growth in all areas. An important part of this is sports. And Tamil Nadu is taking important steps in this space.

Specifically, from July 28, the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai and it is a matter of huge pride for us to be given that opportunitiy. 200 countries, more than 1000 players will participate and Chennai will host this event for the first time.

FIDE, the international chess body, announced that the 2022 edition would be moved out of Russia due to the ongoing Ukraine War. Many nations came forward to bid for the opportunity to host the tournament in their respective countries.

The All India Chess Federation took some efforts too, to host the Olympiad here in India. At that time, the Tamil Nadu Government's swift action ensured that opportunity came to Chennai. This is the first time India is hosting this tournament but beyond that, it is a matter of great pride that this opportunity has come to Chennai.

2500 people, participants and officials alike, are expected to come here for this tournament, making this a tournament that will highlight Tamil Nadu on the international stage.

The TN Government is very proud to be hosting this Chess Olympiad and towards that end, funds worth Rs.92.13 CR have been set aside. I unveiled the logo and mascot for the 44th Chess Olympiad a few weeks ago. We fashioned a horse, like the knight in chess, for the Olymiad's mascot and in true Tamil style, he has been given a veshti and a shirt and is seen folding his hands saying Vanakkam. We've named him Thambi. As we're counting down to the Olympiad, the Sportstar Conclave could not come at a better time. I appreciate The Hindu Group for identifying the right time and holding an event of this sort.

I myself am a cricket enthusiast. I enjoy watching cricket and try not to miss a match. I've been playing since my school days and even played during my days as mayor. No matter how busy our schedules are, myself and my late father and former TN CM Dr. Kalaignar M Karunanidhi would make time for cricket matches.

Sports excites and enriches not just players involved but also spectators and those following the game. The same way, we call sportspersons 'vellaiyatu veerar' in Tamil (Warrior). Sports is that important.

In the recent years, TN Government has set into motion many developments and policies in the field of sports.

Right after our party formed the Government, we announced Rs 3 CR cash prizes for gold medallists, 2 CR for silver medallists and 1 CR for bronze medallists from the Tokyo Olympics. This is a big sum.

Sportspeople, first and foremost, need encouragement and this announcement and a few others were directed towards that goal, to encourage.

- Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics participants were to be given 5 lakh each, coming up to 55 lakh

- Fencer Bhavani Devi was awarded 5 Lakh for her participation  and showing at the Tokyo Games

- Funds have been given to set up a Badminton, table tennis training halls, accommodation, laboratory and other facilities at the Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University

- Athletes training in the traditional TN artform of Silambam will get 3% reservation in the sports quota

- Public district sports campus in Katpadi, new sports hostel for girls in Chennai, new sports arenas in Krishnagiri and Hosur

- Tokyo Olympics relay participants Dhanalakshmi and Subha have been given jobs in the the Electricity Board while Paralympic silver medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu has been recruited into the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited

The TN government has extensively supported its athletes considerably with funds. Not just that,

- Mariyappan Thangavelu was given INR 2 CR for his silver medal-winning performance at the Tokyo Paralympics

- Dipika Pallikal Karthik, Sourav Ghoshal and Joshna Chinappa, who brought home two gold medals from the Squash World Doubles Championship in Scotland were awarded INR 3 CR.

- Medal winners from the 2015 and 2019 Special Olympics were awarded INR 3.90 CR in financial assistance

- Members of the gold medal-winning team in the 2020 FIDE Online Chess Olympiad were given funds of INR.92 Lakh

- Members of the bronze medal-winning team in the 2021 Online Chess Olympiad were given funds worth INR 57 Lakh

To top all this, perhaps the jewel in the crown, is that land has been identified for the establishment of a grand arena for another traditional sport of TN, Jallikattu in Alanganallur, Madurai.

Additionally, to encourage sports at the district level, setting up of sporting halls in every district is a priority in the state budget, something the government has announced earlier as well. We can go on about these policies and measures that this government has put in motion in the last two years.

This shows us that the State Sports department has worked in a timely and enthusiastic manner. The Government is also scouting and grooming more athletes towards the same. This Conclave seems to be an encouragement to those efforts we've taken.

I believe that this Conclave will help encourage the athletes from the State, help grow sports in our districts and provide insights on how to develop international athletes from Tamil Nadu.

What the TN government can take at the State Level and what can be done at the school, college and district level to encourage more people to take up sport, how to grow awareness and appeal of sports and physical education and how big tournaments can be best organised here - I hope this Conclave can give our Government insights on all these aspects.

This government has several ambitions when it comes to sports and to get there, we still have a lot of work to do. I hope this Conclave proves to be a stepping stone in that direction. I once again convey my thanks and greetings to all present here.

Missed a session from the Conclave? Check out the panel guide in the description of our live stream to check out the session of your choice.


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