A great visionary, the honorable National Sports Minister Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore consciously accepted the fact on Tuesday that very many promising talent might not be able to showcase their talent at the inaugural edition of the Khelo India School Games (KISG) due to the upcoming board exams. Determined to ‘catch them young’ and not to dishearten them, he announced that the government would be launching the ‘Khelo India College (University) Games’ on the lines of (KSIG) very soon. During the Talent Identification and Development Committee meeting, interacting with the media persons, he acknowledged that the government had no option but to organize KISG very close to CBSE and other state level exams since the Sports Ministry did not want to hamper India’s progress as a sporting nation.
“This year, we had two options. One between them was an easy one which is to organize the KISG in 2019. Not considering the time constraints, we had to be firm to have the events close to the exams. The clock was ticking away and we had to grab the opportunity because, as a nation, India could not have waited more to create a good impression in the sporting World”, said Mr. Rathore. He also added that “Some promising school kids might not be able to participate due to their final exams; but they do not miss a big deal. The Government will soon conduct games for college students on the lines of the ‘College Games of America’. Understanding that KISG is a great platform, high school students may start preparing now. Parents can plan and send their wards to committed coaches so that the aspirants can participate in the KISG for three to four years and then graduate to the college level games”.
He explained that the KISG would provide the ‘pathway’ for the talented youngsters to perform and cross the limits. School students need not wait for the Olympics to achieve. With Khelo India, they will participate and exhibit talent as per Olympics standards and will become a tough competition for fellow international sporting personalities. The ‘Pathway’ to ‘dream big’ route begins with Khelo India Games, College Games, Common Wealth and Asian Games and achieves a firm platform at the big ‘Olympics’. He opines that with this strategy, India will have more medalists at the Olympics. In the next five years, after every Games, 1000 talented children would be selected and will be awarded a scholarship amount of Rs.5 lakh for eight years. The aim of this is to groom and prepare athletes to win medals in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The athletes will be selected by a panel from the Talent Identification Committee comprising of Arjuna and Dronacharya awardees in each disciplines. The selected candidates will be sent to the Government or Private schools for technical training. Mr. Rathore announced funds for talented athletes who train under qualified personal coaches too.
‘Khelo India’ separately for Women’s Championship in the near future is another important milestone to be achieved soon. The Government’s ambitious mission ‘Khelo India Games’ initiative will extend its wings just in few years to include women’s championship events exclusively. This news too was announced by the honorable National Sports Minister Shri. Rajyavardhan Singh Rothore on Tuesday. At a press conference at the sidelines of the ongoing event, ‘Khelo India School Games (KISG), the minister announced that the number of events will be increased from current 16 events. He himself being an Olympian, understanding the need to create opportunities, said ‘Unless we create an aspirational level in these Games, there cannot be upward movement in Indian Sports. Any child in every school can aspire to be in the Khelo India Games, bring laurels to India and become a sporting hero.
Sports Secretary Mr. Rahul Bhatnagar said that KISG could see an enormous number of entrants for 16 to 18 disciplines in its second edition which has been proposed for December this year. “With the completion of KISG-season 2, College Games would be organized in 2019 in the same 18 disciplines. Along with these young sporting entrants, athletes who are receiving scholarships under the KISG schemes and who have enrolled in colleges/Universities would also witness the participation of athletes selected by Talent Identification and Development Committee (TIDC), Talent Scouts, Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and Sports Federations”, said Bhatnagar. On the accusation of the issue of over aged players being nominated by the Federations to participate in the KISG, Mr.Bhatnagar said that the Ministry considered the age verifications certified and submitted by the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) and the National Sports Federations (NSFs).
Further clarifying about the measures taken by the Ministry to prevent age funding for the undeserving in these Games, Mr. Sandip Pradhan, CEO, KISG said ‘We have obtained eligibility certificates from the National Sports Federation and verified by a three-member committee. After shortlisting the participants, further scientific tests will again be conducted to determine the age of the athletes.
He confirmed about the standards being maintained at the ongoing Games and hoped that it would improve in the future. Planning to increase the standards to compete internationally, he said that the standards they were maintaining currently were better than what they planned for and thought would be. He believes that though the standards and performances are not as high as international demands, they certainly would improve and give tough competition in just a matter of three or four years from now. KISG has set high standards to reach from the organizational point is evident.
Himself, an Olympic Medal winner for Shooting, Mr. Rathore clarified that though the National Sports Federations had been conducting Games, it is the first time that the Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India are conducting such events. He has observed positive impact of the Games in many states. To name a few, the Talent Identification Committee comprises of Karnam Malleswari, Kunjarani Devi and Jagbir Singh who are acting in the right direction on the government’s initiative.