Need joint effort from Centre, State to make India a sporting powerhouse: Thakur

New Delhi, July 23: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur today insisted that sports is a state subject but said if the centre and the respective states work hand in hand, the country can be a sporting powerhouse in the future.
Lauding the states for promoting sports by announcing cash incentives and government jobs for medal winners, Thakur said it’s time both centre and states collaborate in promoting sports.
“Sports is a state subject but the centre has done enough in the last few years in the form of launching TOPS (Target for Olympic Podium Scheme) and Khelo India,” he said while watching the opening ceremony of the COVID-hit Tokyo Games from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here today.
“States like Punjab, Haryana and Odisha have been at the forefront of promoting sports by announcing cash rewards and jobs for medal winners. (PTI)
“Currently, there is a competition between states and it should continue because competitive federalism is important. In future, what I suggest is that one state should focus on one sport to produce medal winners for the country,” he added.
The event was also attended by Minister of State, Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik, wend ightlifting legend Karnam Malleswari, boxer Akhil Kumar, Olympic medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt among others.
The Sports Minister reiterated that there is no pressure on Indian athletes representing the country at the Games.
“Go and give your best. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there is no pressure on you. The good wishes of 130 crore Indians are with you,” Thakur said.
“We have put sportspersons and their interests at the centre of policy planning with a forward looking vision. In the last seven years we have revamped and expanded India’s sports infrastructure.
“Today talent emerging from small towns is being noticed and nurtured, by providing the best facilities and professional training to compete at the highest level. We’ve also brought a fresh outlook towards building a sports culture in the country.”
India will be represented by its biggest ever contingent of 127 athletes in the Tokyo Olympics, which gets underway at the Japanese capital on Friday evening.
The sports minister further said it was a proud moment for the country to witness India sending its biggest-ever contingent to the Olympics and hoped the athletes all the best.
“It was a proud moment to see the big Indian contingent participating in the opening ceremony. I would like to wish the Indian athletes all the very best.
“This is the largest ever contingent of Indian athletes at the Olympics and I am sure they are going to give their best,” he said.
“It’s a time to cheer for them, support them and I am sure they are going to give their best and make the country proud.”
The minister said the government has tried to provide the best support to the athletes in pursuit of their Olympic dreams and will continue to do so in coming future.
“We have provided end-to-end facilities to our athletes. We tried to make sure they got the best facilities, best coaching, best exposure and I am sure our athletes are going to put their 100 per cent,” Thakur said. (PTI)