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Thursday, August 06, 2020

‘Had to show that I am hands-on’: Kiren Rijiju on calling up social media sensations

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said he had called up social media sensations Rameshwar Gurjar and Srinivasa Gowda for trials to show "sections who don't know sports" that he was proactive in his role.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: May 4, 2020 3:35:07 pm
Kiren Rijiju had called up social media sensations Rameshwar Gurjar and Srinivasa Gowda for athletics trials after their videos had gone viral. (Source: File Photos)

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Sunday that he had called up social media sensations Rameshwar Gurjar and Srinivasa Gowda for athletics trials at national camps to show that he was hands-on in Indian sports and that he would be there for Indian athletes.

“People must be thinking what is the sports minister doing, he is responding to such kind of amateur talk, but I had to show sections who don’t know sports that I am hands-on with Indian sports and I am there for the athletes. I will give all the opportunities to all potentials, so I had to show that,” Rijiju told PTI.

Saying that he had to show he was proactive, Rijiju said, “In Madhya Pradesh, somebody had a video of a village boy (Gurjar) running and posted it on social media, commented that he runs faster than Usain Bolt. When it became viral, I could have ignored it but if I don’t react, people will say the sports minister is silent.”

On Gurjar’s less-than-impressive trial, Rijiju said, “During the test he couldn’t even compete with the junior guys, forget the seniors, he can’t run even 13 seconds flat in 100m. He never trained, he was 25-26 so age was also not on his side, he didn’t know how to wear spikes.”

READ | Comparing kambala racer Srinivasa Gowda with Bolt is unfair to both

“Then 4-5 months back news broke that somebody (Gowda) had broken Usain Bolt’s record in a bull race in Karnataka. Even some of the professional people, some of the businessmen, some of the renowned people of India stated that now this guy will bring Olympic gold in 100m,” Rijiju said.

Gowda had declined the opportunity to appear for a trial.

‘Plan to resume national camps from May end’

Kiren Rijiju also said his ministry is devising a plan to ensure a phased resumption of national camps for Olympic-bound athletes by the end of this month but others might have to wait till at least September.

Rijiju said the coronavirus-forced nationwide lockdown, which has been extended till May 17, forced his ministry to delay the resumption of the training camps at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres. The lockdown was earlier meant to end on May 3.

“The camps will start in a phase-wise manner. First we will start training in NIS Patiala and SAI, Bengaluru where athletes are based currently… by the end of this month training is expected to start in Bengaluru and Patiala,” Rijiju said at FICCI’s webinar titled ‘Corona & Sports: The Champions Speak’.

(with PTI inputs)

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