Flagging the New Delhi marathon on Sunday, Union minister Kiren Rijiju expressed his joy at the successful organisation of the event. Despite a rise in the number of COVID cases in the country, the marathon went as planned. And Rijiju shares that athletes are satisfied with the arrangements. Speaking following the event, Rijiju feels that it’s high time for marathon culture to be popularised in India.
“The New Delhi Marathon was conducted successfully. It has proven that away from the pandemic situation All the marathon runners, expressed satisfaction with the arrangement. This shows it was well arranged. The bigger point is how we make the marathon a culture and make it a popular event in India. Marathon, mini-marathon, half marathon, and full marathon- these events can be organised in different structures from the grassroots level in rural areas, villages, towns, and cities like Delhi,” Rijiju told reporters here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
“Marathon is very exciting. It galvanises the whole forces in society. Other than professional runners, other people can also take part. We can think about organising a marathon in different forms and structures. I would like to compliment the athletic federation of India. Although this is a very successful event but none of our runners could qualify for the Olympics because of certain reasons. I am sure in the next event, all will make it,” he added.
“We will take care of our elite athletes,” Kiren Rijiju
The vaccination of Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes has been the talk of the town lately. Weighing in, Rijiju yet again assured that the athletes will be prioritised in the ongoing vaccination drive. The Union Minister asserts that if once infected with the virus, the athlete’s dream of competing in the Olympics is all but done. And hence the government will be vaccinating the ‘elite athletes’.
“We will take care of our elite athletes thereafter all the junior athletes will be taken care of. But the focus is on Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes, they will be given priority because safety is of utmost importance. If any player gets infected at this point in time it will really spoil their chances of competing in the Olympics because if you are infected then you have to follow the quarantine and take medication then your dream is over so that’s why the athletes welfare is our priority,” Rijiju told ANI.
When quizzed if the BCCI has approached him with a request for vaccination of cricketers, Rijiju dodged the bullet. He reasserted that the Olympic-bound athletes will be the priority given the time-bound nature. While he is concerned about players of other federations, the government still has a methodology to follow.
“We are talking about all the sports and all the players but Olympic players will remain our priority because that’s time-bound communication we have with every sports federation. I can not just talk about one federation. Every federation is part of the fraternity and we are concerned about all the players. We have to abide by all the methodology being adopted by the health ministry.“