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'If You Can't Play, Watch Games and Encourage Players': Kiren Rijiju's Appeal to People

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju (Photo Credit: PTI)

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju (Photo Credit: PTI)

Union minister Kiren Rijiju has made an appeal to people, saying that those who cannot play sports, should at least encourage the players by watching the games.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju has made an appeal to people, saying that those who cannot play sports, should at least encourage the players by watching the games. The Sports Minister made the statement here while addressing a group of players and 'Khelo India' medal winners during a programme organised by 'Krida Bharti'.

"Not everyone can play games, but if you can't play, then watch the games and encourage the players. The number of viewers of a game in a stadium and people watching them on television decide the popularity of the game and can attract sponsorships which can help the sport grow," Rijiju said here on Thursday evening. He also spoke about people's view towards the native and non-Olympic Games.

"If we arrange a hockey match in a stadium with a seating capacity of 80,000, but if there are only 2,000 viewers, then who will support that game? If the television viewers for a game are high, the sponsors will run towards the organisers," the minister said. "Nothing will happen if we keep blaming the government. People have to get themselves connected with the sports and at least view those matches on ground or on television and encourage (them).

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"If we see even small competitions in China, Japan or any western country, stadiums are full of viewers. Here even if the world's biggest athletes come, we cannot have a stadium full of viewers to see him," he said. Five days back, the Centre announced that mallakhamb, Thang-ta and Yogasana would be part of 'Khelo India and these games will now start getting scholarships, he said.

"We have a target that kabaddi goes to Olympics. We have appointed a committee to work on Yogasana. In 2021 winters, we will organise the first world Yogasana Championship in India," he added. The minister also said that there was a need to increase the number of competitions.

"Players win or lose, not everyone can be a champion. Everyone has a dream to play for the country, but not everyone can fulfil that. There is a need to have competitions such as leagues, national and state-level league competitions for those who didn't reach much far and remained behind due to various reasons," he added.

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"Kabaddi got glamour through such competitions and (players) are earning handsome amounts of money besides respect. We need to take efforts to make sports a medium of living. Hence, we need to support it and look at it as an industry also. "The manufacturing of sports equipment has a potential to create a lot of employment and contribute five to six per cent of the GDP," Rijiju said.

Manisha Waghmare, who scaled Mount Everest, chess player Tanisha Boramanikar, Sakshi Chitlange, Khelo India winners Riddhi and Siddhi Hattekar, swimmer Sagar Badwe and blind Ironman Niket Dalal were felicitated on the occasion. MP Bhagwat Karad, MLA Atul Save, Krida Bharti office- bearers Vijay Khachane, Pankaj Bharsakhle were present on the occasion.

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first published:December 25, 2020, 19:34 IST