London Olympics tops new sports minister’s priorities

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NEW DELHI - Listing his priorities after taking charge of the sports ministry, Ajay Maken has said he would like India to better their Beijing Olympics performance in the 2012 London Games and has asked his officials to make a blueprint for the athletes’ preparation.

The government earmarked a whopping Rs.678 crore for the athletes’ training for the two major events last year and Maken said the momentum should be maintained in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

“We got good results because the government spent a lot of money on training and exposure of the athletes. We got foreign coaches. All of that led to the betterment of sports and that must continue.”

Maken said he is keen to see India win more than three medals they bagged in the Beijing Olympics.

“The target will be the 2012 Olympics. We would want maximum athletes to qualify for London. We need to get as many medals as we can and maintain the momentum,” he said.

“I have spoken to the secretaries and very soon we will be ready with the full-fleged plan for the Olympics’ preparation.”

“The challenge will be to improve our sports and move ahead. I would want to correct the wrong steps taken in the past. We can’t linger on,” he added.

Maken lauded India’s improved performance in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year but asserted that the country needs to do a lot more to become a top sporting nation.

“India had a good last year in sports. Our performance in the two events was historic. But we cannot be satisfied with this.”

On sports infrastructure, Maken said: “We have built the infrastructure and we will soon be ready with the policy on how to maintain it. If weddings and functions take place in the stadiums, the purpose of building these stadiums will be defeated. We will make a policy and try to get it cleared by the cabinet.”

Filed under: Olympic Games

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