By: Sarwar Alam
India set itself the goal of improving its Olympic medal tally to a “double digit” in Tokyo with the country’s top sports officials pledging every help to the athletes with 100 days to go to the Games.
The world’s second most populous nation has been an Olympic laggard and the six medals the team won in London 2012 remain the best outing for a nation of 1.4 billion.
“As a large nation, India should play a greater role in the entire Olympic movement, and one of the things through which we can do it is by winning more medals,” sports minister Kiren Rijiju told a webinar.
“Our share of Olympic medals must increase.
“We need to set a national record in Tokyo Olympics. India must cross double digits. We’ll look after every need of the athletes, they just need to perform.
“We want to make this Olympic memorable. It’s the athletes who’d ensure that the Tokyo Olympic becomes one of the most cherished Olympics for India.”
Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra shared Rijuju’s optimism.
“We at IOA are very much confident that in the Tokyo Olympics, we’ll better all our records and finish with double digit medals,” said Batra, who also heads the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Rijuju said India’s Olympic preparations in the past had not always been ideal but his ministry would ensure athletes could make the most of their remaining 100 days of practice.
“In earlier Olympics, there were complaints of some shortcoming or the other. But we’ve ensured it’s not the case this time around,” he added.
“The ministry has provided everything that is required and will continue to do so. It’s now time for the athletes to deliver.”