New Delhi: Coaches who have mentored medal-winning athletes at the grassroots and developmental stages will also be rewarded under the Khelo India initiative, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announced on Monday.
Pointing out that the trainers involved in the initial stages of athlete development do not get enough recognition in India, Rathore announced that 20% of the prize money given to the coach of a medallist at the Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games would go to the athlete’s “grassroot coach” and 30% to the their “developmental coach”.
Rathore also said a databank will be set up with details of all coaches. “We want schools and institutions to be able to hire good coaches,” he said. “This database will be an open-source product, and will contain the details of coaches for anyone to view.”
He added, “2018 is going to be the year of sports. We want to focus on rural sports, ie indigenous games and woman-based sports.”
The 2004 Olympic silver medallist also said he was pondering over reducing the age at which athletes are being picked up for the central government’s Khelo India initiative. “At 18, 19, if the athletes are as talented as they seem, they should be a part of the Indian team,” he said.
“In such a scenario, 17 might not be the best age to pick them up. If this initiative is a success and all the stakeholders agree, we want to reduce the age of scouting to Under-12 and Under-14,” he added.
Privatisation of stadia was also on the minister’s mind. “This government is all for privatisation. We want the building of stadia to be sustainable and encourage as much privatisation or a PPP model as can be possible,” he said.
The Khelo India National Games will be held from January 31st to February 8th and will be broadcast live on television with Star India bagging the rights. Rathore also announced that 1,000 athletes will be offered scholarships worth Rs 5 lakh each year for eight years and that each year 1,000 more athletes would be added to the scheme.
The Games will be held at five stadia – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Pool Complex, Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges Complex and Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
The disciplines for the U-17 boys and girls will include Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-kho, Shooting, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling. A total of 667 medals, including 197 gold medals, will be awarded across the disciplines.
A mobile application to provide fitness details for the average citizen was also in the pipeline and would be rolled out soon, according to Rathore.