NEW DELHI, Jul 3: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday said that his Government will soon launch Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) for junior athletes in the country with an aim to produce Olympic champions by 2028.
Rijiju announced the decision during the ‘Fit Hai To Hit Hai Fit India’ webinar which was also attended by HRD minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, Olympic medallist shuttler PV Sindhu and India football captain Sunil Chhetri.
“This is a dream of every Indian and I am just trying to translate it into a mission. Olympics is the biggest event on the planet and when India does not figure anywhere in the medals tally it really hurts,” the Sports Minister said.
“We have worked hard to achieve our goals, we have made big base. The TOPS is currently there for senior athletes who are medal prospects in Olympics but we will soon launch the TOPS scheme for the juniors as well.”
He said the government will identify 10 to 12-year-old talents and adopt them.
“We will take care of their every need and prepare them as medal prospects by 2028 Olympics,” he said.
“If we can identify the potential, the government will take full care of them in grooming, so that they are ready for 2024 Paris and 2028 Los Angeles. If the government takes them under its tutelage, then their parents will not have any worries.”
He said the recommendations of the Olympic Task Force constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have come and the government is in the process of implementation.
“I am very confident that India will be in top 10 in 2028 Los Angeles,” said the Sports Minister.
Rijiju made the statement while reiterating that India can finish in the top-10 of the medal tally in 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
“When I became Sports Minister I set a target of finishing in top 10 in the medals tally in 2028 Olympics and it is achievable. I am saying this with full conviction,” he said.
During the webinar, Rijiju also emphasised on the need to become a fitter nation and said the Fit India movement has been contributing a lot towards that goal.
“Fit India is becoming people’s movement in the truest sense. Majority of our 1.3 billion population consist of school children. Our Prime Minister’s vision is to create a fit nation and the movement is growing very well,” he said.
“The ultimate aim of this movement is to make India.”
Rijiju also talked about the positive effect of the Fit India movement in less than a year of its launch.
“On August 29 this year, we will complete one year of Fit India’s launch. We have achieved a lot in this one year. It has been a complete people’s movement,” he said.
“If you are not physically fit, everything else becomes futile. Therefore, it is very necessary to do yoga or normal exercise and play sports. Those who can’t play sports can stay fit. India has a rich tradition of sports but unfortunately we couldn’t create a culture.” (PTI)