Kiren Rijiju, Sports Minister, believes that there is a need to identify talent from the grassroots level. He has asked the states to actively organize the Khelo India Games for making it possible to bring out the champions in light.
In the first General Council meeting of the Khelo India Scheme, Rijiju said, “The annual competitions being organized at the national level under the Khelo India Scheme, like the Khelo India Youth Games and University Games, have helped to identify sporting talent from all states. However, that is not enough. States that already conduct annual sporting competitions can align with the Khelo India Scheme and the Centre will support them in conducting these events.”
Khelo India Games are held annually in January or February. These are the national level multidisciplinary grassroots games in India which are held for two categories, namely under-17 school students and under-21 college students.
Rijiju Talks About Grooming The Young Talents To Make Them Champions
He further said, “To make India a sporting superpower, we need to identify talent as young as 5-10 years old and groom them to be future champions. It takes at least 8 years to groom an athlete for the Olympics, and if we identify talent at a later stage, then their chances of making it to the Olympic podium are limited.”
Sports Secretary Ravi Mital, Director General, Sports Authority of India Sandip Pradhan and other senior officials of the sports ministry also attended the meeting.
“Identified talent can then be trained at state government or SAI centers. We need inputs from the state governments in identifying talent. We have already identified 8 states where KISCE will be set up. The Sports Ministry has also received proposals from 13 states, which are being finalized. The KISCE is a great opportunity for states to have a state-of-the-art infrastructure in training senior athletes from all over the country in select sports and excelling in them. The Centre is ready to fund and support the states in this, and therefore, I urge every state to urgently identify the infrastructure that they would like to earmark for KISCE,” the minister concluded.