Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju called for India to scale up in aquatic sports, especially swimming, to get improve their medal tally in Olympics, citing the example of USA.

Insisting that success in swimming is pivotal for any country in the Olympics because of the number of medals on offer, Rijiju said India need to act fast to be competitive in the water sport in 2028 Games.

“Historically, the top countries in the Olympics have bagged a large number of medals in swimming. In the last five Olympics USA has won about 31% of their total medals in swimming,” he said.

“There is a great opportunity for any country because of the sheer number of events that take place in aquatics. Today, we don’t stand anywhere in swimming at the Olympic level but there is a huge potential in the sport if we act with dedication, proper planning and adequate resources.”

The Sports Minister was addressing swimming coaches from across the country, participating in an online knowledge enhancement workshop organised jointly by the Sports Authority of India and the Swimming Federation of India.

“I don’t see any reason why India should lag behind. In the 2021 Olympics we do not have the strength to win medals in swimming, but we can start preparing for the 2028 Olympics,” Rijiju said. The minister asked the SFI to create a roadmap and start scouting for talents to make this goal possible.

“There are some facilities that are world-class, such as the JSW Institute in Vizianagaram and the Army Institute in Pune, but we need many more such private academies to come forward to create more facilities,” he added.