Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju is expecting an unprecedented double digit medal haul from the Indian athletes in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. On Wednesday, Rijiu said the government has provided all possible support to the country's athletes in preparation for the Olympics, and it is now their job to make the Games a "memorable" one for India.
"We want to make this Olympics very, very memorable and it is the athletes who would ensure that the Tokyo Olympics becomes one of the most cherished Olympics for India. "From ministry's end we have tried to provide everything required for Olympic-bound athletes and athletes who are participating in qualifying events. Our priority was to fulfil all needs of our athletes," the minister said.
He was speaking during a virtual webinar organised to mark the 100 days countdown to the Tokyo Games, which is scheduled to begin on July 23. "We ensured that there is no shortcomings or shortages of any sort for athletes representing India in Tokyo Olympics. But we will have to set a record in Tokyo Olympics. India must cross double digit.
"We are doing everything for you, you just bring home double digit medal haul. We will give everything you want but there shouldn't be any lacking in efforts from your side," he said in his message to the sportspersons who will represent India in the quadrennial extravaganza. Rijiju asked the athletes who have already qualified for the Games, to remain cautious in view of the surging coronavirus cases in the country and across the world.
"100 days countdown and from here we have to make sure that everyday is important now. From now onwards everything has to be as per your plan and as per the programme set by the coaches. "There are many challenges ahead. If a player in a team tests COVID positive it may affect the entire team. So we have to be extremely careful in this situation. We need to strictly follow the protocols of Sports Authority of India and National Sports Federations," he said.
The sports minister reiterated that India needs to play a bigger role in the Olympic movement and the only way it can do so is by making its presence felt in the medals tally. "We -Rshould make the Olympic movement more rigorous in India. India has a long history of Olympics and as a large nation, India must play much more important and greater role in the Olympic movement and we can do this by winning more medals," Rijiju said.
"Our share of Olympic medals must increase. India is an emerging nation and this must be reflected in sporting arena also." The webinar was also attended by sports secretary Ravi Mittal, Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta, among others.