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Government is doing everything possible to help the athletes: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has said that the government is doing everything possible to help the athletes in the country and spent more than Rs 100 crore on the training of players under the TOPS scheme.

Unveiling the official kit for CWG 2022 contingent here on Thursday, he said that the ministry has supported so many players including Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, Mirabai Chanu, Hockey teams, Table Tennis teams.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, P.R. Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Lovlina Borgohain were some of the star members present at the ceremony from among the 215 strong squad. Some other prominent athletes present included the likes of Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, sprint stars Dutee Chand and Hima Das, Asian Boxing Championships Gold Medallist Shiva Thapa and boxer Amit Panghal, among others.

“Prime Minister Modi himself takes interest in the game and meets the players from time to time. Perhaps this is happening for the first time in the country and in the world when the Prime Minister is directly speaking with the top athletes and spending so much time with the players,” he said.

“He spent a lot of time with not only medal winners, but also those who could not get medals. Prime minister is so keen about the facilities given by the government to the athletes,” he added.

“We are committed to give every kind of facility to athletes, and we will provide it with utmost care. We are spending more than Rs 700 crore for the national sports university in Manipur. If you can see the budget, we have increased more than Rs 322 crore for the sports. So overall we are doing well for the development of sports in the country,” the sports minister said.

“You are representing 130 crore people. That’s the achievement. Winning and losing is part of the game, and you should not worry about the results,” he said.

Addressing the gathering, Rajeev Mehta, secretary general, IOA, said, “We are confident of a strong performance by the squad. Their training and preparations have been top class and the Government of India and the Ministry of Sports have left no stone unturned to ensure that we put our best foot forward for the Birmingham CWG. I humbly express my gratitude towards them and wish all our athletes, coaches and support staff a hugely successful Games.”

Mehta also announced prize money on behalf of the IOA for the medal winning athletes at the Birmingham Games. The gold winners will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 20 lakh, while Rs 10 lakh has been earmarked for silver winners. Bronze medal winners will be awarded Rs 7.5 lakh.

–IANS

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