The Sports Ministry has set a target of ’10-plus medals’ at the forthcoming Rio Olympics that will see the largest-ever Indian contingent of athletes participating in it.
A Committee set up by the Ministry last year to identify medal prospects had selected 110 sportspersons, of whom 76 have already qualified, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told the Rajya Sabha.
“For the forthcoming Rio Olympics, the Sports Ministry has set a target. The target is set at 10-plus medals,” he said in reply to supplementaries on the Ministry’s goals for Rio Olympics.
Sonowal said the Ministry had constituted a committee,headed by Anurag Thakur with sportspersons in it,to select sportspersons as medal prospects for the Olympics in consultation with veteran athletes.
“The Committee had selected 110 medal prospect athletes. So far, out of them, 76 athletes have qualified for the Rio Olympics and we are expecting more to qualify,” he said.
“I believe this will be the largest contingent at an Olympics. Earlier, during the London Olympics the Indian contingent had 60 participants. Due to the steps taken by us,it has encouraged the sportspersons and we are expecting that Rio will add to our joy, happiness and success,” he said.
In reply to another question, the Minister said the government has relaxed the age of sportspersons from 18 years earlier to 25 years under a scheme for trainee sportspersons at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres.
In his written reply to a question on the suicide by sportspersons, he said though the incident was tragic, the Ministry has passed instructions to all SAI offices so that such incidents do not recur.
Sonowal said many agencies had investigated the incident of suicide by a girl trainee of SAI’s special area games centre at Alleppey in Kerala in May 2015, including a magisterial inquiry as well as those by human rights bodies at the national and state levels.
“No inquiry report has found SAI officials guilty anywhere on acts of ommissions and commissions,” he said.