Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore on Sunday lauded the Indian athletes’ performance at the Commonwealth Games and promised to build on the success in Gold Coast keeping the 2024 and 2028 Olympics in mind.

India finished third in the medals tally, with 66 medals including 26 gold, 20 silver and as many bronze.

“The intensity and passion shown by the athletes has made the entire nation proud,” said Rathore in a video message.

“While we won a lot of medals in disciplines which have been our traditional stronghold, it was even more heartening to find our athletes doing well in sports, where we have not won too many medals,” the 2004 Olympics silver medallist said.

Rathore also congratulated the medallists, who emerged from government’s pet project Khelo India School Games (KISG).

Teenagers Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala, who won shooting gold medals in the Gold Coast Games, competed in the KISG.

“We are planning to put a professional system in place. There is a lot of potential in our youth and I see India winning a bagful of medals at the 2024 and 2028 Olympics,” he added.

India, a powerhouse at the Commonwealth level, has a lot of catching up to do at the Olympic level. The country won just two medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and till date shooter Abhinav Bindra is India’s sole individual gold medallist at the Summer Games.