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01/07/24 | 11:19 am

Paris Olympics: Sports Minister Mandaviya hopeful of India bettering its medal tally

Sports Minister Mansukh Mandaviya participated in a ceremonial send-off event organised by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in the national capital on Sunday, wishing the athletes well ahead of their Olympic campaign, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports said in a press release.

Mandaviya was joined by Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, and Indian Olympic Association President PT Usha.

During the event, Mandaviya unveiled three kits (ceremonial dress, playing kit, performance shoes, and travel gear) for the Indian team. The Paris Olympics-bound Indian athletes were buoyant about their prospects at the send-off organized by the IOA.

Addressing the gathering, Mandaviya said, “This event is not just about the unveiling of the uniform and ceremonial dress but a symbol of the dreams and aspirations of billions of Indians who stand united behind the athletes.”

“I am confident that this contingent will sustain India’s growth trajectory in sports. We saw a spurt from two medals in Rio 2016 to seven in Tokyo 2020 as India rose from 67th to 48th, helped mainly by Neeraj Chopra’s Javelin Throw gold medal. I am hoping that our athletes will take us even higher on the medal table this time.”

Mandaviya added that the government has been at the forefront of a movement to make India a sporting powerhouse.

“Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government has supported athletes through various schemes such as the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), which provides specialized support to those who rise to the top,” he said.

“The Government has worked relentlessly to support athletes across disciplines to keep their world ranking high, send them to train in different locations in India and abroad, engage renowned foreign experts as coaches and support staff, and ensure the sports ecosystem keeps pace with the evolution around the world,” the union minister said.

Hardeep Singh Puri said it was a matter of pride for his ministry that it could support India’s Olympic sport.

In her welcome address, Usha said she had drawn on her experience as an athlete to ensure that India’s athletes would not be short of sports science support in Paris 2024.

“We have drawn up a very athlete-centric plan to support our athletes to perform at their peak in Paris. We have assembled a strong team under Dinshaw Pardiwala’s leadership. It includes sports medicine experts, wellness specialists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, and a sleep scientist,” Usha said.

“For the first time, IOA will also give a participation allowance to the athletes, coaching, and support staff. I am confident India will come back from Paris with its best showing in any Olympics.”

India will be sending a contingent of close to 120 athletes to the Olympics, including an Athletics team led by the defending champion in the men’s javelin Neeraj Chopra, a 21-member Shooting team, and a 16-member men’s Hockey team.

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