The Sports Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal has said that he and the Sports Ministry, along with the Sports Authority of India, and the Indian Olympic Association, feel that India should be bringing home at least ten medals in the upcoming Rio Olympics.
After a meeting with the Indian Olympic Association and the National Sports Federation, Sports Minister Sonowal said: “Our target is to win more medals in the Rio Olympics. I think we can win 10-plus medals in Rio Games.”
He explained the purpose of the meeting as follows: “We wanted to know about the preparations and initiatives of the federations for Rio Olympics and about the support they are giving to the athletes. From the statements they made, it is exciting and encouraging and all the federations, including those medal prospect NSFs, have taken several initiatives to bring medals. The Ministry is giving full support to the players and the NSFs.”
Although the Ministry has avoided some allegations about regional bias when selecting certain competitors, the Minister has publicly invited players to approach the government body should they have any problems or grievances while trying to get ready for the Rio Olympics.
Minister Sonowal said: “The players should not feel isolated. We are always ready to support them whenever they approach us… Whatever support we can give, we will give the athletes.”
At this time, there are 52 athletes from India that have already qualified to enter the competitions at the Rio Olympics. Included in the 52 athletes are 32 hockey players from both the men’s and women’s hockey teams. There are eight shooting participants, seven from athletics, four archers, and one wrestler. It is expected that there will be more sportspeople that will qualify for the Rio Olympics over the next few months.
If the Sports Ministry stands by its promises to adequately fund the Olympic competitors, India may well win ten or more Olympic medals at Rio.