Former International hockey player and Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs in Haryana Sandeep Singh has revealed that the State Government is working on plans to support the athletes who qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Sandeep, a former India hockey full back and drag flicker, has said that his Ministry has prepared a roadmap to support the Tokyo 2020 Olympics-bound athletes from Haryana, national daily Indian Express has reported.
“We have made a plan to support Haryana players, who have or will qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Indian hockey teams have booked their spot in 2020 Olympics apart from players from Indian shooting teams and Haryana Government will provide all the support to the players form the State competing in the Olympics,” Sandeep has said during his meeting with the Haryana Arjuna Awardees Association.
He also shared his long-term vision to promote sports and sportspersons in the State. “My target is preparing youngsters for 2028 Olympics. More than 80% of medal winning athletes in Haryana come from rural background and our focus will be to identify villages and providing coaching and facilities to such villages and sports so that we can prepare medallists of the 2028 Olympics. Some villages have stadiums but there is lack of players and we have to see which sport can be played and coaching centres can be made seeing interest and capability of players in respective sports. I believe the foundation has to be strong in every sport and that’s the way we can prepare future’s Olympic medallists.”
Sandeep during the meeting with more than 25 Arjuna Awardees from the State had exchanged ideas on promoting sports in the State.
The 1966 Asian Games gold medallist Bhim Singh, 1972 CWG gold medallist Jagroop Singh, 1982 Asian Games gold medallist Chand Ram, former Indian women’s hockey captain Pritam Siwach, boxers Raj Kumar Sangwan and Dinesh Kumar were among the athletes who attended the meeting with the veteran hockey star.
A reference about hockey was obvious when Sandeep was speaking as the guardian of sports in the State. Talking about India’s prospects in Tokyo 2020 after the men and women have both qualified for the Games, Sandeep said, “it has always been tough in Olympics and I am sure Indian teams can win a medal in the 2020 Olympics. The Indian men’s team is young and the teams has experienced played like Manpreet Singh and PR Sreejesh. The team has good drag-flickers like Rupinder Pal Singh, Varun Kumar and Harmanpreet Singh and I am sure the team will play to its potential in Tokyo. Same goes with Indian women’s team and our support is always with the whole team.”