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'Broadbasing And Excellence In Sports Is Required'

BW Businessworld spoke to Shri Vijay Goel, Sports Minister of India on the need to overhaul sports infrastructure and preparation facilities, and to redefine the scenario of sports in India and

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BW Businessworld’s Brij Pahwa spoke to Shri Vijay Goel, Sports Minister of India on the need to overhaul sports infrastructure and preparation facilities, and to redefine the scenario of sports in India and.


India needs an overhaul in the way we perceive sports; do you think the ministry’s decision to initiate NSDF will help shape India’s sporting hopes?
In order to bring a change in Indian sports sector, National sports development fund has been setup. Since long there was a need to develop sports culture in the nation and as funds allocated were not adequate, the ministry decided to setup a separate fund for development of sports in India. Not only government but, Private players, MNC’s and PSU’s will also contribute in national sports development fund. Fund will be later used for development of sportsperson, infrastructure and international training.

We have had a poor record in Olympics though we had a significant success rate in other international sporting events. Where do you think is the gap and how can it be bridged?
First of all, we cannot compare Olympics to other events because the level of competition is totally different. Secondly, I do not see our performance to be bad in the Olympics. To start with, for the first time we had about 119 players participate in the games. I think this is a medal and achievement in itself. Though to actually do better in the forthcoming Olympics, we have started initiating efforts in various fields. For example, one decision that we have recently taken is that we would not be selecting international coaches now from the federation’s list but we will advertise about the openings and invite different experts/coaches of calibre to participate and compete for their selection as a coach for the a particular field. We have also started the stopped grants for different federations in India. We are also in talks to initiate a sports talent search portal to find and select naïve players of calibre from anywhere in India.

Private sector’s involvement in sports is a major problem and we do not see much of their participation. Do you think better involvement of private sector in Indian sports will lead to better infrastructure and preparation facilities?
Everyone talks but the contribution is minimal. Very few private sector players have come ahead to promote sports. My ministry is now taking initiatives to bridge the gap. We recently held a conference where we brought veteran players, khel ratna and dronacharya awardees to discuss better ways of promoting sports in India. In the same way, we will sit with industrial houses, PSUs and NGOs and we will initiate talks regarding dissemination of funds from their end to promote sports in India. We will also talk about sports centres’ and athlete adoption.

We have organised many world class events in the past. Do you think we have the capability to host Olympics in the near future?
Why not? We do have the capability to host Olympics in the near future. But we should not host Olympics just for the sake of hosting them, we should host them once the country is ready, the people are ready, when they are ready to back our athletes in the right spirit of sports; then I think we will be ready to host Olympics. To initiate the same though, we have started promoting sports at the grass roots level. For example we have initiated leagues like football, tennis, swimming, kabbadi etc.

My final question to you is, where do you see Indian sports in the next five years?
I see the transition happening in two ways though my work is to initiate a sports playing spirit in the whole nation. The two aims which I see are broad basing of sports and excellence in sports which are immediately required. My target is to ensure that more and more Indian athletes participate and qualify for the forthcoming Olympics. Whether we win a medal or not is secondary and depends on various other factors. We must ensure maximum qualification.

Click here to watch video interview

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