Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday predicted that Indian athletes will return with the country’s best-ever medal haul from the Asian Games later this year.
India are expected to send one of the largest contingents to the Asian Games this year with athletes competing in non-traditional sports like kurash, jujutsu, and chess. A total of 600 athletes are expected to represent India across various sports, compared to 570 in the last edition and 541 in 2014. ”The improvement in facilities by the government has resulted in India’s best-ever performance at the last Oympics, Paralympics, Deaflympics and Commonwealth Games. We won a record number of medals and we will do similarly in the Asian Games. ”I think India will have the best-ever performance in the Asian Games,” Thakur told reporters on the occasion of Mission Olympic Cell’s (MOC) 100th meeting here.
India returned with a best-ever haul of 69 medals, including 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze from the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Pelambang, Indonesia.
The minister informed that over 350 proposals of TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) group athletes worth Rs 45 crore have also been approved in this Olympic cycle.
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”For the preparation for Asian Games the government has till now sanctioned over Rs 220 crore. The government has spent Rs 450 crore in the current Olympic cycle on training and equipment. We have approved proposals of TOPS group athletes worth Rs 45 crore,” Thakur said.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has set July 15 as the deadline for sending final entries for the postponed Asian Games set to take place in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8. Selection trials for more than half of the Asian Games disciplines have already been conducted by the respective federations and rest would be finished by June 30.
”All associations are aiming to finalise their teams and finish the Asian Games selection trials till June 30 which is well before the July 15 deadline,” Thakur said.
The government has also revised assistance to National Sports Federations with an outlay of Rs 1575 in the current Finance Commission cycle (2021-2025).
Furthermore, to attract the best talent and minds to handle operational aspects of TOPS scheme such as research work and management of athletes, the government has upgraded salary structure of TOPS for various posts by about 35 per cent.