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We are trying to eradicate these three shortcomings in our country’s sports system by bringing reforms in Delhi: CM Arvind Kejriwal

NEW DELHI: The Kejriwal Government has extended a helping hand towards budding talent with a resolve to outperform US-China at the international arena. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal handed over financial assistance cheques to 60 sportspersons under Mission Excellence today. On this occasion the CM stated, “In the first year of the scheme, the Kejriwal Government had distributed financial assistance of Rs 9.51 crore to 117 players to develop their talent. We dream of an India where sportspersons bring more medals than China and America bring at international events. We will not allow talented players to face any lack of funds, we have to make the country proud. The players who were given financial aid by the Delhi Government under the ‘Mission Excellence Scheme’, brought medals for India in the Olympics. There are three major shortcomings in the sports system of India— lack of support to underprivileged talent, lack of sports facilities and undue political interference. We are trying to eradicate these three shortcomings in our country’s sports system by bringing reforms in Delhi.” At the same time, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said, “We not only honour the players after winning medals, but also help them in those times when they are working hard to win medals. We are selecting good players from all over the country for the Delhi Sports School, they will be trained from a young age to prepare them for the Olympics.”

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “We’ve all seen how sportspersons receive no support from the administration or the society until their pursuit leads to a medal. Once these sportspersons win medals, there’s a hoard of people rallying behind them but in most cases, they don’t even get unconditional familial support with parents nudging them towards focusing on studies versus their talent leading to the fields. Governments also fail at providing support and infrastructure to these players. I salute all such sportspersons who bring laurels to the country despite all the hardships and shine through their struggle. This is exactly where the Delhi Government aimed to make an intervention through the Mission Excellence. A lot goes into making a sportsperson out of a player. High-quality training, international coaching, special diets, equipment and what not does one not need at every step of their journey. A majority of our talent doesn’t lack effort but access and ability to shell huge sums on it.”

He added, “With Mission Excellence in order, we support sportspersons in their journey towards their first medal and eventually help them step up the ladder from national level to international level. This scheme is our government’s pursuit towards ensuring that talent doesn’t have to deal with monetary hardships at any point in their journey. We had supported 117 such players in the first year of the scheme. Today we are extending financial assistance to 60 players under the scheme.”

He stated, “the best part of Mission Excellence is that there is no political interference in this scheme. A 4 member selection committee consisting of sportspersons decide on the merit of one’s application and assess their financial need. We extend aids of upto Rs 16 lac with different players bagging different amounts under the cap as per their assessment. Now the onus is upon the players to excel. The Delhi Government is here standing behind you. We will not let you face a lack of funds. We are here for you, leave no stone unturned in your pursuit for gold. This might be the Delhi Government that’s supporting you at this juncture, but your aim shouldn’t be limited to bringing fame to Delhi. This nation is paramount, India comes before anything else. Make the country proud.”

He continued, “We are the second most populous country with 130 crore people. There is no lack of talent. I even find those children who perform stunts at the traffic signals to be potential sportspeople. Kids like them, who relentlessly perform tricks with great flexibility and no training can be nurtured and made gymnasts of international quality if they are looked after. There’s endless talent in this country but there is no system to assist and cultivate their potential.”

He added, “There are three main problems with our sports system. First, a large share of sportspersons come from underprivileged and impoverished backgrounds. The system doesn’t lend support to such talents. Mission Excellence is combating this problem. Second, there is a lack of sports infrastructure. There are no proper tracks, turfs or stadiums. We’ve overcome a great deal of obstacles in this field too. We’re developing international level sports infrastructure in Delhi. Third, is political infrastructure. Despite being talented and hardworking, a lot of sportspersons do not come through because access is withheld from them and given to those with political backing. There’s a very ugly kind of system of selection in sports. In Delhi, we’ve gone beyond that by giving the reins to sportspersons itself.”

The CM said, “We are a country of 130 crore people and when it comes to Olympic medals, we get a handful. We have to resolve to leave US-China behind in our sports exploits. We have to win more medals than them. To enable this mindset, we have established the Delhi Sports University, which has signed an MoU with University of East London (UEL). UEL is considered the premier sports university of the world. This MoU will help us gain such expertise and credence that we rank among the best in the world. This university may be called the Delhi Sports University but it will forever belong to the whole country. This is a new experiment. It will fine tune established sportspersons and also develop sportspersons from the school level through the Delhi Sports School. These children will get education in sports. They will earn degrees in the sports they play.”

He concluded, “It is quite common for Sportspersons to face a dilemma between Sports and their career. They have to quit studies and if they are unable to become successful in Sports, then it becomes very difficult for them to get a job. The employer asks them what their educational qualifications are and if they have a bachelor’s degree. Now they need not worry about it. Whatever sport you choose, you will get a degree in the same and you will be eligible to apply for any job. I wish that every athlete will achieve huge success and make the country proud but for any reason if they fall short, the avenues for other employment remain open. This is a new experiment which is first of its kind in the country. Many such experiments are in the pipeline. I am optimistic that Delhi will make the country proud and our infrastructure will help the athletes in achieving great results.”

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “Everyone felicitates players when they return after winning medals. But before that sportspersons struggle to manage finances for their sports equipment and travelling cost for trials or tournaments. They hardly get any support from anywhere. In view of the same, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal conceptualised the “Mission Excellence” scheme. Delhi Government was the first in India to introduce such a scheme in the field of sports, which provides financial support to sportspersons during their preparation and days of struggle. Today various governments are providing infrastructural facilities to the sportspersons across the country, but the real matter of concern is the situation of players who want to play, have great potential but not enough funds. This scheme of Delhi Government addresses this gap and provides support to all such players who are preparing for various championships. Sportspersons who are performing well but are going through financial challenges to manage the cost of training for their sport, Delhi Government provides support of upto Rs 16 lakhs to them. Ravi Dahiya and Sharad Kumar were among the first few players who benefited from this scheme and became star performers in the Olympics. This made us feel proud of our sports persons and the scheme. Through this event today we are providing support of Rs 9.50 cr to upcoming sportspersons who are ready to raise the Indian flag high.”

He added that apart from Mission Excellence there are many schemes being run by the DoE and Sports Department to provide the support to the budding sportspersons. Speaking about the infrastructural facilities development for sportspersons in Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister said that in the past few years Delhi Government has built 11 synthetic turfs, 3 astro turfs, 3 artificial turfs for football.

The faces of the players blossomed after receiving the aid, heavily praised the Kejriwal Government

The faces of the players blossomed after receiving the assistance amount from the hands of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today. On this occasion, Tokyo Paralympics 2020 Bronze Medallist Sharad Kumar said, “Delhi is the only state which provides assistance to individual athletes directly through Mission Excellence Scheme for their training purpose, a stage when they are blossoming. Other states only provide money when an athlete wins any Medal or trophy. This is a great initiative. There are 60 athletes who will continue receiving the assistance but I am assured that more athletes will get included in the future. The panel which selects the athletes is completely unbiased. They scrutinise every athlete’s reports and then come to a conclusion. I am very glad that this initiative has started showing its results even though it’s a quite new scheme. I am certain that we will win many more medals in the near future. I am hopeful of the success of the initiative of the Delhi Government. I want to thank the CM for that”

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Silver Medallist Ravi Kumar said, “I want to thank the Delhi Government from the bottom of my heart for their visionary schemes. They have proved to be immensely helpful in our success, be it the older schemes or the newly brought Mission Excellence Scheme. You have done your part by giving your 100% and now the athletes have to do theirs. I want to encourage my athletes to play to the best of their capabilities. Your performance in the competition is not only dependent on how you perform there but also on how to practise for it. I wish them the best for their careers.”

What is Mission Excellence?

The Kejriwal Government operationalised its scheme “Mission Excellence” in the year 2018 to provide financial assistance to top level sportspersons of Delhi. Through this scheme, financial assistance is being given to top level sportspersons for receiving training/coaching and to maintain their dietary supplements to compete in international tournaments and championships to make this country a top sporting nation. Under this scheme, Outstanding Sports persons are given financial assistance of upto Rs 16 lakhs for achieving excellence at international levels. In the first year of its launch, a total of 117 players were recommended by the Committee of Experts in the respective disciplines and financial assistance of Rs 9,51,41,000/- (Rupees Nine Crore fifty-one lakhs and forty-one thousand only) was provided to these selected sportspersons.

The scheme is one of its kind and is the pioneer scheme for providing assistance to sportspersons in undertaking training aboard as well as other support. This year, the Delhi Government is continuing its financial assistance to 60 athletes under its Monitoring Module for Mission Excellence Scheme. Athletes were monitored carefully by a committee of experts and those who have brought laurels for the country at various levels by upgrading their skills using the scheme have been recommended for further financial aid. In the list we have Ravi Dahiya, Tokyo Olympics 2020, Silver Medallist who received a financial assistance of Rs 9 lakhs in 2018 under this scheme and has utilised it to the maximum. His achievements need no introduction. This year Delhi Government is giving a financial aid of Rs 16 lakhs to Ravi Kumar to maximise his skills so that many more medals could be added to Olympics tally.

Besides, Sharad Kumar clinched a Bronze Medal at Tokyo Paralympics 2020 and was given a financial assistance of Rs 12 lakhs in 2018. This year, he is being given an assistance of Rs 16 lakhs for his future endeavours. Further, we have Divij Sharan in the list who was given an assistance of Rs 15.5 lakhs in 2018 and has won 5 ATP World Tour Titles. He was ranked No. 2 in 2019 and represented India at Davis Cup. The scheme “Mission Excellence” has proven to be a big success for the players of Delhi and will continue to help in forging the best athletes so that India could become a top sporting nation.

Also read: Delhi Government earns more than Rs 100 crores as dividends against its investment of Rs 30 crores in DCHFC

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