New Delhi: Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore revealed that the government is coming up with a new sponsorship scheme for youngsters which, according to him, will help in building champions for the future, at the News18 Rising India Summit in the capital on Saturday.
The legendary India shooter said that due to financial constraints many talented kids lose their way and therefore, the government has come up with this plan to help these capable young athletes.
"There is always this problem that capable athletes usually don't get sponsors as the brands want to get an already established star on board. So now, the government will be providing 1000 kids with Rs five lakh each for eight years to hone their skills. This will be their first sponsorship," revealed Rathore.
"In the coming months, we will unearth talents in the 8-12 age group as well. We will partner with different education boards and will educate them regarding our format as to how to go about the selection. We will even go to the extent of DNA testing and when we will have the final few selected kids, we will sponsor them. Getting financial help at such a young age will help in building champions when they grow older," he added.
The 2004 Olympics silver medallist also spoke at length about Khelo India, which recently saw kids under the age of 17 giving their all on the national arena. Rathore compared the quality of competition in Khelo India to that of Commonwealth and Asian Games.
"When I was watching Khelo India on the television, I didn't realize that it was competition between kids from India, rather it seemed like an international competition and it was very heartening," said Rathore.
"Sports day function happens all over the country and parents see their kids do well as well. But from there on, they lacked a good platform earlier. Till the time there is no visibility, if people don't watch them perform, they won't become heroes. We wanted to give the youngsters a platform which will help them realise their dreams," he added.