Sporting legends of the likes of P.T Usha, Bhaichung Bhutia, Vijender Singh and iconic para athlete Deepa Malik are among those who have lauded the efforts made by of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports led by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (retd). The sportspersons are of the view that the initiative will strengthen the system right from spotting talent, to grooming them and will benefit the country in the years to come and that the Khelo India will leave a lasting impact on Indian sports and will bring a paradigm shift in the countrys sporting culture.
Sharing the trials and tribulations that she underwent, former track queen and top athlete, P.T Usha recollected the days when she was coming up through the ranks. We used to get support only after winning medals. We did not have a system that Khelo India is trying to put in place to capture, groom and nurture talent. Our young athletes are very fortunate to find this kind of support from the government. I am sure Khelo India will go a long way in all-round development of sports in India," said Usha, popularly known as Payyoli Express.
Expressing his sentiments, ace footballer Bhaichung Bhutia said that the pyramid structure of Khelo India will have a strong and lasting impact at the grassroots level. It is important that we reach out to the kids and encourage them to go out and play. Thats what Khelo India is intended to achieve. I am sure Khelo India will help to spot a good crop of fresh talent in greater numbers," said Bhaichung. He added that Khelo India has the power bring a significant change the way sports is perceived in the country.
Dipa Karmakar, who made history at the 2016 Rio Games by becoming the first gymnast from India to qualify for Olympics, feels that Khelo India will have direct bearing on Indias future medal prospects. Its a great opportunity for India to improve its medals tally in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. If all those who are selected through this programme train well, follow schedules and dont have to worry about financial support, India will definitely win more medals than expected," said Dipa.
Top pugilist, Vijender Singh, the Beijing Olympics boxing bronze medallist said that Khelo India has the potential to change the face of Indian sports. Its a very good initiative by the government and a step in the right direction. It will give a huge boost to Indias Olympics aspirations. I lend my full support to the Khelo India initiative," added Vijender.
Deepa Malik, one of Indias most decorated para athletes, who won a silver medal in the F-53 shot put event in the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games, felt that only when more people take to sport it will be the first step in the direction of becoming a global sporting superpower. It is high time we pushed the country to become a sporting nation. If we talk about sports excellence then the total population of the country doesnt matters. What matters is the sporting population. It is only when we start catching talent at a young age and an impressionable age, it will help in inculcating the good habit of sports as a healthy lifestyle. It will help in changing the image of new India and transform India into a sporting powerhouse," she said.
The first Khelo India School Games were declared open by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi at a glittering opening ceremony yesterday at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.
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