Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju, on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious scheme to provide employment to retired sportspersons.

“When a sportsperson suffers, it discourages generations. So we are starting 1000 Khelo India small centres across the country that will help retired sportspersons get employment or some role in shaping the sports culture of the country.” he disclosed

“The government will also ensure that the prize money, financial support from it reaches the athletes and the designated beneficiaries uninterrupted”

Addressing the 10th Global Sports Summit, TURF 2020, organized by FICCI, Mr Rijiju was of the view that country has huge potential where sports is concerned but potential alone has no meaning unless utilized and channelized in the right way.

“We must make citizens pro-sports and pro-fitness; we cannot talk about a prosperous India with citizens being unfit. We cannot talk about a sporting culture without first creating success in the sporting arena.”

“There is no lack in terms of government support, but we are not a sporting country. The government’s efforts alone are never enough. It is the people’s efforts, people’s participation that will define the success of sports,” he added.

“Even if two per cent of India’s population watches one sport, whether in stadiums or on the television, it will make the game popular and will bring in the money for its development. We must ensure that sport becomes a big industry in India. It can be a huge contributor to the country’s economy,” he emphasized.

I have set a target of putting India in the top-10 medal grossing nations in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. To this effort, we have initiated various policy changes. , the Minister said

World Badminton champion PV Sindhu, said that it is high time that we go on and formulate pathways for our youngsters so that they are able to continue following their dreams and can have the support of their parents as well.

Speaking at the event Madhya Pradesh sports minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia, said that state departments of sports can also be change-makers. “Exclusivity and inclusivity is key to development,” she said.

“A very good example of this is that in the last Rio Olympics, half of the women’s hockey team was from the state. This goes on to show that if one has a proper coach, is given the independence, proper infrastructure, and sporting facilities, he or she can do wonders,” she added.

Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carrol said that both Australia and India recognize the importance of sports “That is why it is important that as sports administrators, policymakers, and stakeholders, we view our world as an opportunity to make a difference not just in sports but through sports,”