India will bag more medals at Rio Olympics: Sports minister

Kolkata, June 20 (IANS) Confident that India will win more than 10 medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday assured of providing all possible support to the players through the centre’s ambitious Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme.

The TOP Scheme has been formulated within the overall ambit of the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) with the objective of identifying and supporting potential medal prospects for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics Games. The elite athlete identification committee includes sporting greats Rahul Dravid and Abhinav Bindra among others.

“This time the number of medals in Olympics will go up, last time it was six, the maximum we have had. This time it will be 10 plus,” Sonowal told mediapersons on the sidelines of a programme here.

“We are supporting medal prospects in the country and the best possible support from our part will be extended to them so that they can train and play comfortably as per their merit to achieve the goal,” he said.

Under the scheme, the sports ministry has selected 84 potential medal winners from various sporting disciplines including athletics, badminton, boxing, shooting, wrestling and sailing so far.

The ministry has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with public sector company India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) to provide Rs.30 crore for the scheme.

Addressing the 32nd convocation of Diploma Course in Sports Coaching at the Sports Authority of India, Kolkata centre here, Sonowal also hoped the country would produce top quality coaches.

“We are still lacking behind in this sector, so we have to give our best possible effort in the coaching area too as we are targeting more and more medals in the upcoming Olympics in Rio and also elsewhere.”

“The target is to produce more quality coaches from the country so that they are appreciated all over the world,” he added.

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