Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday called upon the nation to fix a target to double the medal tally in the 2024 Paris Olympics and also for building "all-encompassing support system" for the young and aspiring athletes.
India's stellar performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 had filled the hearts of the countrymen with pride and even more gratifying were the achievements of Paralympians who through their single-minded focus, grit and resilience brought home a record number of 19 medals propelling India into the top 25 at the para games, the Vice President said.
"This is a historic moment in India's sporting journey and their exemplary performance has not only changed people's perception towards disability but has also kindled hopes of India emerging as a major sporting power," he said while virtually inaugurating the Tiruchirappalli Campus of SRM Institute of Science and Technology from the Raj Bhavan here. "Let us set a target for ourselves to double the medal count in Paris Olympics in 2024 and lose no time in trying to achieve it," he said and urged all stakeholders, including the private sector, to come together to build an all-encompassing support system for the country's young and aspiring athletes.
"If an enabling ecosystem is created, I am sure, there are many more Avani Lekharas (who won a gold medal in rifle shooting in Tokyo 2020 Paralympics) and Neeraj Chopras (Javelin thrower who won gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics) waiting in the wings, whose talent can be nurtured successfully," he said. Educational institutions like SRM Institute whose student Nethra Kumanan, the first Indian sailor to qualify for the Olympics, should take a lead in this direction, the Vice President said. On the challenge of employability, Venkaiah Naidu stressed the need to increase employability by focusing on the skills required for the Industry. "Every year, the country produces around 1.5 million engineers, but a survey suggests that only seven per cent of them are suitable for core engineering jobs," he pointed out. Hence, the emphasis must be on building a stronger academia-industry connection and ensuring that creative research results in the application of ground-breaking solutions. The students on their part should equip themselves with emotional and social skills that will enable them to adapt to a rapidly changing world. "Develop a positive outlook towards life and seek to contribute to the larger cause of nation-building. Strive constantly to use your education for the good of others, society and the nation at large," he advised. The services of the SRM group in collaborating with the Government on clinical trials with respect to COVID-19, and also in providing affordable and necessary healthcare facilities to those affected by the pandemic were commendable, he said. The Vice President appreciated the vision and leadership of the founder of the group, Dr T. R. Paarivendhar, and said the SRM group's focus on quality education is in tune with the Government's vision in laying the foundation for an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, founder Chancellor of SRM IST and Member of Parliament T R Paarivendhar, president, SRM IST, Niranjan, and chairman, SRM Groups, Ramapuram and Trichy Campuses Dr R Shivakumar were among those who attended the virtual event.
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