Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday stressed for the need of corporate-government partnership to make sports as a career option in India and to start the process of talent scouting during an online webinar titled "Role of Corporate India for Fit India".
"Sports has to be seen as a career option in India and viewed as something offering dignity and respect. There is no shortage of human resources in our country. It is important that at the grassroots level that we promote sports culture and we will be encouraging schools to adopt all kinds of activities to encourage sports and fitness," said Rijiju in a webinar orgsed by the Associated Chambers of Commerce in India (ASSOCHAM).
He spoke on the importance of promoting fitness and sport and the need for corporate-government partnerships in achieving these goals.
He said that every district in the country will have a centre of excellence. Moreover, he also mentioned that he is in discussion with the Union HRD Minister that sports will not just be an extra-curricular activity but a part of education.
"It is heartening to see the corporate world come forward to support sports, those top athletes who are identified by the federations, they can use facilities developed by the corporates. Sports federation, government, and corporates all have to come together and move in the same direction," said Rijiju.
The sports minister reiterated his desire to see India in the top 10 of the 2028 Olympics medal standings and outlined how he expects it to be accomplished.
"Winning 10-12 gold medals is usually good enough to get into the top 10 of the Olympics medal tally. We have identified 14 disciplines as priority sports, these include archery, boxing, wrestling, shooting, hockey, fencing. If we see some other sports, we will add them into priority sports," said the sports minister.
"It's critical that we start the process of talent scouting and identification as early as possible. If we spot a 10-year-old boy now, he will be 18 when the 2028 Olympics will take place. Our Khelo India Games are becoming very popular, if we spot potential, we will pick them up even if they have not won a medal at the Khelo India Games. We will have a talent identification scout in every region and in every sport." he added.
Rijiju said that the reason he started a TOPS scheme for junior athletes is keeping in mind his long-term goal of the 2028 Olympics and that India as a country cannot be satisfied by winning one or two medals at the Olympics and should aim higher.
( With inputs from ANI )