New Delhi, July 8 | Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said that National Centres of Excellence (NCOEs) will be divided into senior and junior facilities for each sport. Rijiju also said that there will be regional talent identification teams who will be further divided on the basis of each sport for scouting athletes for the proposed junior Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
“We will have a regional talent identification team. For example for South India we will have a separate team. They will be responsible for identifying talent in that region,” said Rijiju in a webinar on “Role of Corporate India for Fit India” organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
“There will also be separate teams for each sport. We will pick up those young talents and start the TOPS Junior. Right now we have only the senior TOPS scheme going on. Those who are picked up in this scheme have to worry about nothing, the government takes care of everything for them. Besides that we give Rs 50,000 as pocket expenditure. So now we have decided to extend it to the juniors.”
Rijiju said that there will be NCOEs dedicated to junior athletes. “We will then divide the National Centres of Excellence into seniors and juniors. So some of the NCOEs will be devoted to the juniors. This is how we are categorising our education plan.”
The Sports Minister pointed out that the two measures are being undertaken keeping in mind the vision of seeing India within the top 10 of the rankings at the 2028 Olympics.
“If I say that India should be in the top 10 of the 2028 Olympics and then I don’t announce any measures to make that happen, there is no use of making any such announcements. That is the very fundamental reason for starting TOPS junior and then encouraging more of our young athletes and getting them into our centres,” he said.