AICS urges government to increase budget for sports

New Delhi: All India Council of Sports (AICS) on Saturday urged the government to enhance the sports budget to prepare the country’s athletes for the upcoming international competitions.

“In view of the Prime Minister’s ambitious programme to prepare the sportspersons for the next 12 years which will cover three Olympic games, 2020 to 2028, there is a urgent need to recoganize Sports as a priority sector and for that a big annual financial allocation is required,” AICS president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said.

Presiding over the third meeting of the AICS which was attended among others by Sachin Tendulkar, Bhaichung Bhutia. Kunjarani Devi, Limba Ram and IOA president N.Ramachandran, he said that Prime Minister’s decision to set up task force to oversee the preparations of the Indian sportspersons for the future Olympic and Asian Games is very reassuring.

Prof Malhotra said he will take a AICS delegation to meet Prime Minister and Finance Minister to seek hike in the allocation for sports – at least Rs 100 per capita that is around Rs 12,500 crore.

Sachin Tendulkar made an impassioned appeal to the government and other agencies to come forward for creating a new competitive sports culture in the country.

“We have talent, we just need to spot them and polish them. Look at Deepa, Sakshi or Sindhu they all proved that can shine at the world stage prov8ided they get the right support”

Sachin was of the view that athletes need a very committed support staff. “Behind every successful sportsperson in the world, there is a core of committed support staff”

He was of the view that instead of sending few sportspersons abroad for training. “We should get a large pool of qualified foreign coaches and their staff in our country. They should be entrusted to coach our coaches and train the support staff. They should be hired on long term basis so that by the time they go back we should have a very strong bench strength of the coaches, support staff and of course athletes”

Sachin opined that though the medal winners need to be felicitated, “we should not overlook or ignore the others who give their best but are not able to have podium finish.”

Ace footballer Bhaichung Bhutia while endorsing Sachin’s view said that there was a need to develop support at the district level.”We need decent playgrounds at village level, a good infra structure at the district level”.

He said unless we start picking talent at the very young age. “It will be of no use making big ticket schemes,” he said.

All India Tennis association (AITA) life president Anil Khanna was of the view that sports federations need to tap the TV channels. “There is huge money the federations can earn if they negotiate with them. This is the trend all over the world”.

Others who attended the meeting included G.S.Shekhawat, MP, B.P.Baishya, Viduspat Singhania, Sachin Sinha, Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Injeti Srinivas, Navin Agarwal, Lt Gen Bhalla, Rakesh Gupta and S.Reghunathan.