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Indian PM Modi announces 'task force' to prepare athletes for next three Olympics

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the task force will be set up in a few days and will comprise of experts from India and abroad. Photograph: (Getty)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 26, 2016, 05.37 PM (IST)
After much chest thumping over India's two medal victory at Rio Olympics 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today a task force will be set up to prepare athletes for effective participation in the next three Olympic Games in 2020, 2024 and 2028.

The task force will be set up in a few days, the Prime Minister said. It will focus on providing better infrastructure for training, improved facilities, selection procedure and will comprise of experts from India and abroad. 

In India, education has always been given importance over sports. Prime Minister Modi has repeatedly stressed on the need to link sports with the education system.

In 2013, during a speech in Ferguson College in western Maharashtra state's Pune city, Modi had said, “During Olympics, people often say despite its huge size, we don't get medals. Have we linked sports with our education system? Did we give enough opportunity to our youth? Believe me if you give our defence forces this responsibility and match the potential of the new recruits in the interested sports and then train them properly, we will earn 5-7 medals even without much efforts. It requires vision!”

A contingent of 118 athletes were sent to Rio, but only two medals were achieved by wrestler Sakshi Malik and badminton player P V Sandhu. The abysmal performance highlighted poor training and lack of facilities given to most Indian athletes. 

Indian track and field athlete, O P Jaisha collapsed at the finish line at the end of the women's marathon. She said she was not provided any water nor energy drinks by officials despite designated stations being provided for India.


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