Today News Online Service
New Delhi, March 15
Noting that the government’s focus is to promote Olympic sports in the country, Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday said in Rajya Sabha that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have huge potential in providing talent in such disciplines to the country.
The Minister, while responding to a volley of questions during the ‘Question Hour’, said, “We have now identified Gulmarg as a right place to organise national camps for Olympics from now on.”
He said, “Kashmir has amazing potential in football, they have performed exceedingly well at the national level. Football will be promoted as a priority. We will launch some more programs in Kashmir. Football will be our main agenda.”
Forty small centres at the block level and 140 small Khelo India centres are already set up in J&K, he added.
The Minister said water sports were coming up in a big way across Jammu and Kashmir. “We will inaugurate water sports in Dale Lake this summer. Water sports have a great potential in Kashmir and we have had many potential and success stories in this area,” he added.
On being asked if there has been any plan of resuming international cricket matches in Jammu & Kashmir, Rijiju said, the government would “love to do it” and “I now see no problem in holding such sporting event”.
The Minister, however, said, “Cricket in the country is promoted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and decisions on holding cricket matches are taken independently by it. Therefore, if the BCCI decides to hold matches in Jammu & Kashmir, the government will encourage the cricketing body and provide all required support.”
Meanwhile, the Minister said, “My aim is to bring India in top 10 by the 2028 Olympics and to make it possible we have to create sports facilities at the ground level. Thus, we intend to start about 1,000 Khelo India Sports Centers across the country.” He also argued that India has around 700 districts and this means that “we will have at least one centre per district, while some districts will have more”.