Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said he would fail as a Sports Minister if India cannot finish inside the top 10 in the medals tally by 2028 Olympics.
Rijiju said with India set to become the third-largest economy in a few year’s time, the country cannot lag behind in sports and the prevailing mediocrity in management of National Sports Federations (NSF) is “unacceptable”.
“Our country is set to become the third-largest economy in the world by 2022 or 2024, we will be in top three in many fields in the next four-five years. There is no reason why we cannot do well in Olympics,” Rijiju said while unveiling the logo of India House to be established in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.
“2020 Olympics is too near but by 2024 or in 2028, India should be in top 10 in the medals tally. It is our target. If India cannot do this, I will feel my becoming Sports Minister is of no use,” he added.
The Sports Minister asked the IOA to ensure that the standard of governance in NSFs is high. He especially warned that no athlete’s career should be ruined because of any official or coach.
“Mediocrity in sports management will not be accepted. This is very much needed if we want to become a sports powerhouse in the near future. The IOA and the NSFs will have to have high standards of governance. I am happy with the functioning of the IOA. I want the IOA and NSFs to follow high standards of governance.
“Ego of those in sports management does not serve any purpose. If the career of an athlete is ruined because of the ego of people in the management, the government will not tolerate it. Our approach is athlete-centric and sports-centric,” he said.
Rijiju also said that India will work for the inclusion of kabaddi in the Olympics by 2028.
“We will work with friendly countries and push for the inclusion of kabaddi in 2024 or 2028 Olympics at the latest. To do that, we will have to ensure that the sport goes beyond Asia,” he said.
“We are planning to send coaches, officials and kabaddi teams in other countries so that the sport expands and reach other continents.”
In another event here, Rijiju called on the private sector and industry to come forward and play an active role in the promotion and creation of a sports culture in the country.
“The governments, administrators, federations and industry have to deliver. The results will follow,” Rijiju said at the inauguration of the India Sports Summit, Fitness: USD 10 billion opportunity.
“The industry has huge responsibility, some of the private sector companies have world-class sports facilities in their area, and are also promoting and harnessing talent at remote areas.
“Good ideas for sports promotion can come from anyone, and the government is willing to accept and implement them.”
The minister said by 2022 at least 80 per cent of the country’s population should be fit and to achieve that the government and business houses will have to work together.
He said India’s rise as a global leader will be complete if the country becomes a sporting power.
“The nations which are sporting powers have sports culture in them, and playing games comes naturally to their citizens and children. But in India, this was not true, but now the time has come to change,” Rijiju said.