“We Want to Make India A Real Sporting Nation”
Minister of State (IC) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Mr Vijay Goel, took time out to share his vision for Indian sports during an interview with Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty at his official residence in New Delhi
World over the most popular sporting events are privately run. And yet when it comes to infrastructure, all sporting bodies depend on the Government to create stadiums, cycling velodromes, tracks for athletes, hockey turfs, badminton courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, and so on. What role is your Ministry playing in creating the infrastructure that you just spoke about?
Going forward, we’d only like to create that infrastructure which we can maintain in a proper way. We do not want to create infrastructure simply for the sake of adding it, they must be maintained and utilized gainfully. Creating sporting infrastructure is expensive, and we’re exploring the possibility of going in for Public Private Partnership models.
What kind of International Cooperation is being undertaken to boost sports and youth initiatives in India?
We have signed many MoUs with different countries. We are carrying out many exchange programs. We have also tied up for transfer of sports technology.
India has never been able to host an Olympics Game. Do you think in the future we will be able to?
It is not easy for any country to host an Olympic Games. It is an extremely costly affair, and the monetary returns against the expenditure are not at all commensurate. Many countries have faced this issue, leading to resentment among the tax-paying public. So, therefore, just for the sake of trying to host an event of the scale of the Olympic Games we wouldn’t like to go in for a bid. We will first try to build upon our existing infrastructure, add to it in a meaningful manner, ensure that we have some solid revenue models in place, before looking to bid for the Olympic Games. It is important that we are able to effectively utilize the infrastructure once the Games get over in two or three weeks time. And also when we look to host an Olympic Games, we should be in a position to win many more medals than is the case at present.
Is there a lesson from the Commonwealth Games experience?
Yes, definitely. So much money was spent during the Commonwealth Games. So much of infrastructure was created. But we find that most of that is lying empty or grossly underutilized. We need to first efficiently utilize the existing facilities to the optimum capacity, before creating new ones at great cost. That is the lesson.