Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday said India has the capability to break the best-ever medal haul record set in the 2012 London Olympics during next year’s Tokyo Games.
Indian had logged its best-ever performance in the Olympics at the 2012 London edition, taking home an unprecedented six medals including two silver and four bronze.
However, the athletes put up a disappointing show in the 2016 Rio Games when they won just two medals.
“We are assessing our athletes’ performance under the TOPS scheme. Right now we are at the halfway stage, 61 athletes have qualified for Tokyo. The qualification process will go on till May,” Rijiju said during a session of ‘Agenda Aaj Tak’.
“Saying how many medals we will win 8-9 months beforehand is not correct. I am just making an assessment now that we have the capability of breaking the London record,” he added.
However, Rijiju said there are still several issues that need to be addressed for the sports sector in the country to work as well-oiled machinery.
“There are a lot of issues. Governance is the biggest issue. Sometimes if the athlete is doing well the federation is not able to tell the ministry, doesn’t promote the athlete,” Rijiju said.
“Players, federation, and government all have to come together. Earlier the federation and government fought with each other all the time. But when I was made minister I called the federations and said I’m not here to govern over you I am here to help you and the athletes,” he added.
Boxer Vijender Singh also emphasized on the need to have proper infrastructure and assistance for the athletes.
“There are a lot of areas that India needs to improve on. Medical is one of them. In our sport (boxing) if we get hurt near the eye and are not tended to properly we risk losing our eyesight,” the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist said.
“Now that I am in professional boxing I can hire anyone but in the national camps care should be maintained and officials should be hired based on merit and not recommendations,” he added.