Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju is aiming to bring India within the top 10 in the medals tally by the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. To make that a reality the sports ministry has decided to inaugurate 1000 Khelo India sports centres across every nook and corner in the country.
“We intend to start 1,000 Khelo India sports centres at the district level across the country," said Rijiju in Pune on Monday.
"We have around 700 districts in the country, which means that we will have at least one centre per district, some districts will have more,”
He launched a Khelo India State Centre of Excellence at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge-Balewadi in Pune to benefit the athletes of the region with the world-class facility.
"Pune has a lot of talent, so does Mumbai. You go to Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan or any region of the state, there is an abundance of sporting talent available. We talk about having a tradition of sports, but we still don’t have a strong culture of sports. We need to work towards imbibing a strong sports culture in the people.
"The least we can do to support sports is to start watching them. We have seen that cricket is popular because people watch it. Like we made kabaddi popular by watching the league, we should start watching other sports too.”
He pointed out that out of 23 state centre of excellence three would be in Maharashtra. 30 athletes each from shooting, cycling and athletics will be benefitted after the talent identification process gets over. The total cost of the project at Balewadi would be Rs 38.02 crore.
Rijiju hopes that India will improve significantly in the Paris Olympics in 2024.
"If India doesn't make it to the top ten in the medal tally of 2028 Olympics then don't count my this tenure as Sports Minister. After the first three months of me becoming the Sports Minister, we announced that India will be in the top 10 in Los Angeles Olympics 2028. We have already started preparation and as I announced earlier, by 2028 we will be in the top ten in the Olympics.
"You will see the effects of this development in 2024 in Paris Olympics, for Tokyo Olympics scheduled in 2021 I won't say we will be champions in a year. But for those who are going for Tokyo Olympics we will provide all kinds of support required," he added.
He also announced that sports facilities will be named after renowned personalities to honour their contribution towards the country.
"We have made some policies to respect players, be it a former player or the present player. Yesterday I tweeted the announcement that we are going to name all the facilities of sports after sportspersons. We have already started the whole process and very soon we will start naming them," he announced.