Athens Games silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore feels the State Federations need to identify their top 50 athletes and use the active Arjuna Awardees to nurture talent in order to help India prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“We did a study to find out the number of sports in which the top 30 countries had won medals at Rio Olympics. From 1-10 countries, 60 per cent medal they won in four sports, 80 per cent medal that the 11-20 countries won were in four sports, and from 21-30 countries, four sports contributed 90 per cent of the medal,” Rathore said.
“If we want to win medal in 2020 Olympics, it is important that all states prepare for it. We don’t need excessive amount of funds but will power and concentration of effort.
“There are 800 Arjuna Awardees in this country, say at least 50 per cent will be active. How can we use this 400 Arjuna Awardees or if we are not then why, we need to think about that. There are many medal winners working in Railways, doing government jobs, we need to use their passion to nurture talents,” he added.
Rathore, who was addressing the gathering during the ‘Conference of Ministers and Secretaries of the States’, also said: “If the central government is preparing 50 athletes for 2020 Olympics and we all know who those 50 players are, similarly the state needs to prepare their top 50 athletes so that they make the Olympic team. There is a need of focussed energy.”
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The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting also stressed on the need to align the system and professionalise the operations.
“We don’t have spaces to play. If we can identify the empty spaces that are under some government agency in the country and give that ground to the former sportspersons to make their clubs, it will bring professionalism,” he said.
“It is important to have a club culture. It will create opportunity and encourage competition. Coach led athletes centric programs is very important.
“We need to align the system. Corporates, ministries, everybody is willing to help but it is important to align the agencies and corporate sector. It is the responsibility of the State. We need to make the state sports federations more responsible. The operations have to be professional by having CEOs who would be responsible to the sports council.”
Rathore also addressed the problem of junior athletes who find it difficult to make the transition to senior level.
“In schools, juniors do well but by the time they become seniors, they find it difficult to make the transitions as there are pressure of earning livelihood or there is no sports center of excellence.”