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Target is to cross double-digit in 2024 Paris, enter top-10 in 2028 Los Angeles, says Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju

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Newly-appointed Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, on Tuesday, revealed that he has set a target for himself — to cross the double-digit mark in terms of Olympic medals won by 2024 Paris Games. He further added that by the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, his target is to get India in the top-10 medal-winning nations.

As reported in the Times of India, speaking at an inauguration ceremony in Chennai, Rijiju stressed that one cannot produce champions overnight and it takes time and proper planning. He told reporters: 

You cannot produce champions overnight. It takes a lot of planning and a methodical approach to set up a team of world-beating athletes. You have to catch them young and train them properly for future events. The Prime Minister has constituted a body called Olympic Task Force and I’ve been working on the project ever since I became the minister and set up short-term and long-term goals for us.

He went on to add that while there was little time left for the Tokyo Games, by the time the 2024 and 2028 Games arrive, India will be better prepared. Rijiju said: 

We are too late for Tokyo Olympics but still have some time left for Paris and Los Angeles to prepare. We have set a target to cross double-digit medal tally in 2024 Paris Olympics and become one of the top-ten medal-winning nations in 2028 Los Angeles Games.

While previously India was known to win Olympic medals at only men’s hockey, since the 2008 Beijing Games, things have changed. The country won three medals there and then four years later, at the 2012 London Olympics, the tally doubled to six.

Also read: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju felicitates Indian wrestlers

However, India’s performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics was less than satisfactory with only two medals coming — one from badminton, the other from wrestling. The overall performance in the last two decades has hardly improved the country’s image on the world stage. Despite no dearth of talent, India is still not considered as a sporting powerhouse when it comes to Olympic sports.

Rijiju, since his appointment, has taken it up his sleeve to put India on the Olympics map. He has been travelling all over the country, taking stock of budding athletes who can be groomed for the future. “It’s not an easy task but it’s also not impossible if you are serious about it,” he accepted.

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