“Specialised squads will be formed for talent scouting to prepare the country to the event,” says Rijiju

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On Wednesday, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju said with an aim to reach India in top 10 in Olympics 2028 the government will form “specialised squads” for talent scouting to prepare the country to the event.

Rijiju said, “We have set ourselves a goal of having India in the top 10 countries in the Olympic 2028 medal tally. It is an ambitious goal, but not impossible. We have already started scouting for young talent and after the Covid-19 pandemic is over, the government will form specialised squads for each sporting discipline consisting of present and veteran coaches and athletes.”

He further added, “These teams will travel to every district of the country to scout for raw talent. We still have 8 years to prepare for 2028 and I am confident with the correct policies, India can feature in the list of Top 10 countries.”

SAI has organised online enhancement session for coaches along with AITA.

Rijiju hoped that if India has the ability to win medals in Asian Games so it’s no doubt it can win medal in Olympics too.

Rijiju said, “2018 was a landmark year for table tennis in India because by winning the two bronze medals in the Asian Games we proved that our level has improved significantly. The strongest table-tennis playing countries participate in the Asian Games and if we could clinch medals there, we can even win medals in the Olympics.”

He said he sees much potential in young players of table tennis to win medals.

He further said, “Table Tennis needs very limited infrastructure and it can be played by youngsters in any part of the country. I really see a lot of potential in this sport and government policies are being framed to create more infrastructure and training facilities for table tennis at the district, state and national level.”

Rijiju added,” I will also personally visit some good academies and urge them to include table tennis training. Given the standard of the game in India right now, I feel that by 2028, we should be able to clinch some medals in TT at the Olympics.”

Rijiju also explained the importance to organise more leagues in table tennis to popularise the game and motivate more youngsters to take it up.

He said about the leagues he took last year, “I attended the Ultimate Table Tennis league last year and feel that leagues of this kind can help to make the sport popular and also commercialise it. It is important for corporates to show interest in creating such leagues in table tennis and in all sports so that with corporate funding and government patronage, the sporting ecosystem in the country becomes more robust.”

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