Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, on Wednesday, announced that the revamped Khelo India initiative targeted a fluid transition for young athletes to the big stage. Across the country, 20 universities will now be promoted as sporting centres.

The government approved Rs 1756 crore for a period of three years for the revamping of Khelo India, launched by the ministry last year by merging three schemes – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme and National Sports Talent Search Programme.

The scheme will also back a select brand of 1,000 athletes to receive an annual scholarship of Rs 5 lakh each for period of eight years.

“A holistic approach has to be taken and there will be a seamless network which will enable a pathway from schools to Olympics,” Rathore said after a cabinet meeting. “In the age group of 10 to 18, health and education will be mapped and schools will be graded. Sports facilities will also be mapped with geographical location. Sports and education will be mixed.”

The programme, which aims to promote 20 universities across the country as hubs of sporting excellence to help talented sportspersons pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.

Sports specific apps and ‘good is not enough’

Rathore also mentioned that sports-specific mobile applications will be launched, “The Apps will have tips for athletes and information of Indian and international athletes.” The former Olympic silver-medallist added that efforts will be made to upgrade and educate coaches at the community level.

Rathore said he was taking a “step by step” approach about the impending sports code and efforts to bring sports in the concurrent list, and quipped that “good is not enough” when asked about the standard of coaching in the country.