New Delhi [India], May 28 (ANI): Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Saturday stressed on development of sports infrastructure in the country at all levels to facilitate Indian youth to compete and excel at national and international competitions.
Speaking after inaugurating the Sports Complex of the Savitribai Phule Pune University, Thakur said "the Centre, the states, universities, sports federations and corporates should join hands to create world-class sports infrastructure in the country".
He complimented the Pune University for naming its state-of-the-art sports complex after India's first Olympic individual medalist Khashaba Jadhav. Incidentally, the winner of the Bronze Medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Khashaba Jadhav was an alumnus of the Pune University.
The minister further said, all over the world, universities play a major role in producing medal-winning athletes and sportspersons and added that it was heartening to note the participation of over 7,000 youth in the recently concluded Khelo India University Games in Bengaluru.
The Minister commended the performance of Savitribai Phule Pune University, which finished among the top 5. "With the world-class infrastructure now in place, I am sure, the athletes of Pune University will excel further and aim for top 2-3 position in the future University Games" he added. Thakur also called upon other universities to emulate the initiative taken by Pune University in creating sports infrastructure.
Stressing the importance of real-life competition, the Sports Minister said more and more sporting events should be organized at all levels. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has been taking a keen interest in promoting sports, which can be seen from the regular interaction he holds with various Indian athletes. He informed that the Khelo India budget has been increased by over 50 per cent from Rs 657 crores to Rs 974 crores.
Thakur asserted that the Government's thrust on sports has helped unearth hidden talents, which is showing in the country's performance in Olympic Games and other International Competitions. "A record 7 medals in Tokyo Olympics, 19 medals in Paralympics, 16 medals in the recently concluded Deaflympics and India winning the Thomas Cup Badminton championship for the first time ever are testimonials for the future of sports in India," he added.
Union Minister further said that while pursuing sports as career, studies should not be neglected. "Good education is also very important for every sports person" he said.
Thakur then appealed to teachers to help sports persons with personalized guidance and extra classes to cope with studies, which they would have missed due to their participation in various sports events.
Earlier, Thakur unveiled the life-size bronze statues of Swami Vivekananda, whose birth anniversary is celebrated as National Youth Day and the Olympian Khashaba Jadhav at the entrance of the Sports Complex.
The Khashaba Jadhav Sports Complex is spread over 27 acres of land and it has a synthetic athletic track, football, astroturf lawn tennis court, international standard shooting range, state of the art gymnasium. Apart from this, the complex includes outdoor sports facilities like kho-kho, kabaddi, corf ball, and handball. There is a multipurpose indoor hall with facilities for badminton, basketball, volleyball, handball, judo, karate, net ball, table tennis, wrestling, weight lifting, boxing and gymnastics. An international standard swimming pool, cricket and astroturf hockey arena would be built soon at the complex. (ANI)