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As Indian shuttlers make the country proud with the Thomas Cup win, here is how GoI is changing the face of Indian sports

Schemes like TOPS, Khelo India, Fit India movement, alongside excellence centers have given a major boost to Indian sports.

On May 15, the Indian Men’s Badminton Team stunned the sporting world by defeating the 14-time champions Indonesia and winning the Thomas Cup for the first time in its history. India defeated the Indonesian team by 3-0 in a best of 5 contest. India became the 6th nation to win the coveted trophy, recognized as the biggest prize in team badminton for men.

This continues the present Golden Era for sports in India as Indian sportspersons continue to win accolades across the world in various different sports. The last Tokyo Olympics saw India’s best-ever performance at the Olympics, followed by an even more impressive performance at the Paralympics. While the talent of the athletes is what is ultimately winning these accolades, thanks to the support system built for sports in the country in recent years, that talent is getting nurtured now and showing results at the biggest stage.

Since PM Modi came to power in 2014, he has made sure that the sportspersons get all the required support from the government and federations. There are several initiatives that the government of India has launched to support the players.

TOPS – Target Olympic Podium Scheme

The athletes are often faced with sponsorship challenges, thereby making it difficult for them to get the best training facilities and coaching. Having understood the underlying reason behind India’s poor performance in Olympics Games, the Indian government launched the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in September 2014. Mirabai Chanu is one of the beneficiaries of TOPS. Notably, during the conversation with PM Modi, Srikanth said TOPS-like schemes are providing much-needed support for the players.

The program is monitored by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, wherein it provides financial support and assistance to top athletes in the country. With the objective of helping sportspersons secure Olympic medals for the country, a TOPS Elite Altheltes’ Identification Committee and a Mission Olympic Cell were set up. The body was tasked to identify top athletes and parathletes and provide them with several benefits.

NCOE – National Centres of Excellence

National Centres Of Excellence have been established by the Sports Authority of India to impart specialized training to promising athletes by providing them state of the art infrastructure and playing facilities, sports science backup, a personalized diet prescribed by trained nutritionists, and overall supervision under the best coaches, qualified support staff and High-Performance Directors. These centers operate as coaching camps for the best available talent across India. There are 23 such centers across the country concentrating on various different sports.

Extension centers of STC (Training Centres Scheme)

Early training for talented athletes goes a long way in achieving their international goals later on in their careers. To ensure the best talent gets the best training from an early stage, the government introduced the scheme of extension centers of STCs covering 17 disciplines to cover schools and colleges with a view to developing sports standards in schools and colleges having requisite basic sports infrastructure. The scheme has shown good results across disciplines. Trainees from the age group of 10 years to 18 years are selected for regular training under this program.

Khelo India

The program has been introduced to bring back the culture of sports in India at the grassroots level. Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee are provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for eight years. Khelo India games have been held regularly since 2018. Under-17 athletes are invited to participate in the games across 16 disciplines.

Fit India Movement

Launched in August 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the program aims at the overall improvement of health among Indians via sports. It helps in spreading awareness about fitness at the grass-root level. The aim is to spread awareness about fitness to every school, college/university, panchayat/village, etc. Several campaigns under the program have been launched to improve fitness among the people of India, thus bringing them closer to a sporting culture.

The schemes have also helped Indian athletes in para-sports. Apart from the central government’s initiatives, perks like pensions and jobs for athletes at the state and national levels have also increased to encourage their contribution to the medal tally.

PM Modi’s personal connect with the players

Apart from these schemes that have been launched by the government, PM Modi always maintains a personal connection with the sportspersons and never misses a chance to personally congratulate the players on the win or console them if they lose.

Even after the historic Thomas Cup win, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a 9-minute conversation with the winners over the phone in which he congratulated them and talked about their experience. PM Modi also invited the whole team to his residence. He said, “Once you are back home, you have to come to my residence. I want to listen to your experiences.”

During the conversation, star player Kidambi Srikanth who sealed the Thomas Cup for India also recognized the contribution of various government schemes to their success. Srikanth said, “The atmosphere in the country is in favor of the sportspersons. The Sports Authority of India, sports federations, and the Indian Government are supporting the players. Schemes like TOPS are helping the sportsperson. If the support continues, India will see many more champions.”

Earlier, even during Olympics 2020, while PM Modi called up every single medal winner and congratulated them, he also took his time out to share the grief of those who narrowly missed out. After the Indian Women’s Hockey team lost a hard-fought Bronze match to Britain, PM Modi called the team up and tried to cheer them up. PM Modi urged the team not to lose heart and shared with them how their performances impressed everyone. He said, “Your sweat (hard work) has become the inspiration of crores of girls in India.”

PM Modi also makes sure to congratulate teams or individual players on social media after they win a tournament, and players often mention how much this personal touch from the Prime Minister means to them.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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