Speaking to ANI on the sidelines of the launch of Khelo India School Games 2018's official Twitter handle, anthem and schedule here, Rathore reiterated the importance of building an environment of sports and outdoor activity in the country, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Young India can be physically and mentally fit through sports. The importance of sports is high, and everyone needs to come together to create an environment for the same. This is the objective of Khelo India Games," he said.
Envisioned to be similar to the Commonwealth Games, the Khelo India Games, Rathore said, aims to provide a platform for people to showcase their talent in sports, and for them to transform from a "potential athlete to a podium finish."
"The event will be broadcast on television and will be along the lines of the Commonwealth Games. We are looking at roping in around 1000 athletes every year, granting each of them Rs 5 lakh worth scholarships every year. The recruitment process will go on, so as to get us 5,000 athletes in five years," he said.
Rathore further stated that a database of coaches will be created under each sport, thereby providing a chance for one to expand their knowledge base. He also stated that in order to select athletes, committees consisting of Arjuna and Dronacharya awardees will be constituted.
The 'Khelo India' programme, was launched by former Sports Minister Vijay Goel but was later revamped by his successor Rathore.
The school games will be held at multiple venues in Delhi. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex are among the venues where the games will be held.
The school games encompass 16 sports disciplines such as Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
The opening ceremony of the programme will be held in the national capital on January 31, and the programme will conclude on February 8.
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