India trying to learn from the Australia, UK to become sporting superpower, says sports ministry


New Delhi: Aiming to improve its standing as a sporting nation globally, India is trying to adopt the models followed by Australia and United Kingdom (UK), a top Sports Ministry official said on Monday.

India managed to return with a measly two medals from the Rio Olympics after entering the Games with a level of optimism and hype never experienced before.

The poor show prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce the setting up of a task force to prepare an action plan for the next three Olympics Games.

“We are trying to learn from the Australian and UK models wherein the government spends for sports promotion. In this regard, a delegation has been sent to Australia to understand their model,” Rajiv Yadav, Secretary, Sports Ministry, told PTI.

Sports minister Vijay Goel was the chief guest at the event. AFP

Sports minister Vijay Goel was the chief guest at the event. AFP

The delegation will pass on its inputs to the concerned sports bodies.

“If you see, Australia’s performance has seen a rise since the Montreal Olympics (in 1976). And we hope we can also go up in the future by following their model and executing it. The focus will be mainly on sports science and sports medicine,” Yadav added.

Yadav said the ministry is always game for supporting individual academies and centres of excellence set up by athletes, like the Gopichand Badminton Academy and the recently-launched High Performance Training Centre by Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra.

“We will always be supporting academies and centre of excellence by athletes,” Yadav said on the sidelines of a function organised to hand over cash awards to performers of Rio Olympics and the subsequent Paralympic Games.

Sports Minister Vijay Goel was the chief guest of the event held at the Constitution Club of India.

In his address, Goel reiterated the commitment of his government towards the promotion and development of the sports in the country. He assured all the medal-winning sportspersons that government would leave no stone unturned in promoting and supporting all sports in the country.

Goel said not only the medal winners but also those who finished fourth or performed really well will also be considered for special rewards.

Plans are afoot to integrate sports into the education system and the Sports Ministry has also written to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in this regard.

He also said it is being deliberated if the Paralympic athletes would be rewarded at par with other athletes.

Asked about the stand-off between BCCI and the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel, Goel said it is not appropriate for the Sports Ministry to interfere in this issue till it is required to.

Rio Olympic silver medallist shuttler PV Sindhu and bronze medallist in wrestling Sakshi Malik missed the event as they are busy with their national/ international competitions.

List of award winners:

Mariyappan Thangavelu (Gold in High Jump) – Rs 75 Lakh.

Devendra Jhajharia (Gold in Javelin Throw) – Rs 75 Lakh.

PV Sindhu (Silver in Badminton) – Rs 50 Lakhs.

Deepa Malik (Silver in Shot Put) – Rs 50 Lakhs.

Sakshi Malik (Bronze in Wrestling) – Rs 30 Lakh.

Varun Singh Bhati (Bronze in High Jump) – Rs 30 Lakh.