Fearless India will excel in Paris Olympics: Anurag Thakur

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 13, 2024 IST

Anurag Thakur

New Delhi, March 13: As the countdown to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games accelerates, anticipation mounts to witness India's athletes shine on the global stage. While the players are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the Games, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur exuded confidence saying that the athletes will "reflect new India" in Paris 2024 due to their "fearless and competitive nature."

Speaking exclusively to IANS, Anurag Thakur shared his thoughts on the Paris Games, Khelo India, anti-doping programmes and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support to the athletes. The minister specifically mentioned PM Modi's unique approach to encouraging the athletes without burdening them with undue pressure.

Excerpts from the interview:

IANS: This is an Olympic year, how are the preparations going with the government providing all the necessary requirements to the athletes? How many medals are you expecting this time? Will we break last time's record?

AT: I am confident that our athletes will come back with the best medal haul from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. My confidence stems from their hard work and determination, backed by the support from the coaching staff, support staff and enabled by the Ministry through the Sports Authority of India and their National Sports Federations. I am convinced that the athletes will reflect the new India with their fearless and competitive nature.

IANS: Khelo India has boosted the graph of sports in India, your thoughts on that and what more can be done? Education related to dope is also important for both coaches and athletes.

AT: Envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Khelo India Scheme is the country’s overarching sports project. It is not only about the competitions – Khelo India Youth Games, Khelo India University Games, Khelo India Winter Games and Khelo India Para Games.

One of the major components of the Khelo India Scheme is the development of infrastructure. As many as 331 projects, costing Rs. 2943.64 crore have been sanctioned since 2014. This has taken modern sports facilities to the doorstep of the grassroots talent. Another aspect is talent identification and development through a structure of training centres ranging from the National Centres of Excellence to the SAI Training Centres and from the Khelo India State Centres to the Khelo India accredited academies around the country.

As for anti-doping education, a lot of it is being done by workshops and seminars by the National Anti-Doping Agency to enhance anti-doping awareness among athletes. It also conducted more than 5800 tests in 2023 as part of its testing programme to ensure that Indian athletes do not compete internationally without first being tested at home.

IANS: Recently, Sansad Khel Mahakumbh 3.0 in Bilaspur was inaugurated on March 5. Indian cricket team captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid were also present there. Your thoughts on the initiative and how it is helping young athletes of Himachal?

AT: The Sansad Khel Mahakumbh in Hamirpur district was among the first ones to be started in 2018 with an effort to give children of Himachal Pradesh a chance to participate in a sporting event which could act as a stepping stone for them to consider taking up sports as a full-time career.

It was in line with the vision of the Honourable PM to create a grassroot level sports ecosystem that could act as a catalyst to identify sporting talent from the deepest corners of the country. The first event that saw the participation of about 40,000 youngsters became a case study across the country and was adopted by several other states.

Over the three seasons hosted so far, we have been able to engage over 1 lakh kids, both boys and girls in 5 sporting disciplines and many of them have gone on to represent the state in various competitions. The fact that Sachin Tendulkar agreed to inaugurate the first edition and Rahul Dravid, Rohit Sharma came to the recent edition is proof that these sporting icons also believe that there is merit in this model.

IANS: The idea of not putting pressure on athletes for medals turned out to be a stress buster for the sportspersons. Your thoughts on that?

AT: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led the way. The manner in which he meets the athletes before and after major competitions is without precedent. He has often reminded them to compete hard without worrying too much about the outcome. This has led to athletes delivering their best without being burdened by expectation. I believe our athletes have relished his encouragement which has led to a lot of people understanding that the essence of sport is to follow the process and accept the outcome. (IANS)

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  • Anurag Thakur
  • Paris Olympics 2024

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