Sports Minister Anurag Thakur sees a larger role for the central as well as state governments in the near future for the betterment of Indian sports.
India is riding high after its best-ever finishes at the Olympics and the Paralympics.
“The first issue is of creating a sporting culture, from a stopping culture to a sporting culture, from people’s participation to people’s movement. It is very important to nurture and infuse those kind of feelings,” Thakur said on India Today.
“I think that has started, the way the Prime Minister is engaging with the sportspersons and also encouraging them. Encouraging them before the event and also post-event which was very important.
“In Tokyo Olympics and before that, it wasn’t easy a time. We were going through the trouble times of COVID-19 pandemic. To train players locally and globally wasn’t easy.”
Thakur thanked his predecessor Kiren Rijiju for his contributions in the run-up to the Tokyo Games.
“You could see that during the Olympics and post Olympics, the coordination among both of us but in future also I personally feel that there is a larger role to be played by the centre (government), state (government), national sports federations, educational institutes,” Thakur added.
For India to become a sporting powerhouse, Rijiju reiterated the need to develop a sporting culture.
He said that no country in Europe and America spends as much as India on sports.
“There is a huge misconception in our country, before I took over as sports minister, everybody expects the government to look after sports. The impression was that the athletes are suffering but the government is not concerned or its not doing enough.
“Whereas if you see Europe or America, no other government spends as much money or gets involved as much as the Indian government. The government is not supposed to create stadiums and infrastructure, it needs to be managed in a much more professional manner.
“But the impression here is that the government should do it. This has happened because of a lack of sporting culture,” Rijiju said.