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Lack of transparency in sportspersons' selection is now a thing of the past: PM Modi

A record 55 lakh participants have registered for the Khel Mahakumbh across the state

Khel Mahakumbh Gujarat

Khel Mahakumbh



Updated: 12 March 2022 5:13 PM GMT

Drawing parallels between politics and sports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the lack of transparency in the selection of players for various tournaments is now a thing of the past in the country.

Speaking after inaugurating the 11th edition of `Khel Mahakumbh', an annual sports competition organized by the Gujarat government, Modi also said that the youth today can take up various sports-related professions such as coaching and physiotherapy. "Just like Bhai-Bhatija-waad (nepotism) in politics, there was lack of transparency in the selection of players for sports competitions. This was a huge factor due to which our players' talent was wasted. They used to struggle all their lives against such difficulties," he said.

"But the situation has changed now and players are touching the sky. The shine of gold and silver medals is boosting the confidence of our youngsters," the prime minister added. The inaugural ceremony at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Navrangpura area drew a huge crowd. Noting that India won seven medals in the Tokyo Olympics and 19 medals in the Paralympics, Modi said "this is just the beginning, because India will neither get tired nor stop here." Days are not far when we will win several gold medals, he added.

A record 55 lakh participants have registered for the Khel Mahakumbh across the state this year, he noted. The initiative began when Modi was chief minister. "Gujarat's youths are winning medals in the Olympics and other world sports. I am confident that this Khel Mahakumbh will also produce more such talent," said Modi. Referring to the Indian students who returned from war-hit Ukraine, the prime minister said, "These youths who have returned from the war zone are saying that they have experienced the power of Indian tricolour in Ukraine."

He was apparently referring to some students' accounts that they were not harmed as they were holding the Indian flag while making their way out of the east European country. Modi also urged parents to identify the sporting talent in children and encourage them. "A career in sports does not mean that you have to be number one in that sport. You can also become a coach, or take up sports management or sports writing as a career. You can also build your career as a physiotherapist or trainer," he added.

The Union government is taking several steps to encourage sports and sportspersons, such as setting up the first national sports university in Manipur and another in Uttar Pradesh, Modi said. "Under the Khelo India initiative, we have identified many talented youngsters and given them required support. The budget for sports has been hiked nearly 70 per cent in recent years. We have also increased prize money up to 60 per cent so that players focus on sports instead of worrying about their future," the PM said.

He also advised the Gujarat government to take advantage of the long sea coast of the state and promote water and beach sports. The prime minister also unveiled the Gujarat government's new sports policy on the occasion.

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