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Previous govts hesitated to allocate budget for sports, we brought changes: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Stating that previous governments hesitated to allocate enough budget for sports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that this year’s sports budget is three times more than earlier.

Modi was speaking after inaugurating the 37th National Games at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Fatorda, South Goa.

Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik, Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and Goa Sports Minister Govind Gaude, Chairman of Indian Olympic Association P.T. Usha, were present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister added that the progress of the sports sector of any country is directly related to the progress of its economy and hence his government took all steps to foster this area.

“Erstwhile governments hesitated to allocate enough budget for sports. This year’s sports budget is three times more than the sports budget nine years ago,” he said.

“There is no dearth of talent in India and the country has produced champions despite deprivation. In the international sports medal tally we were far behind. But since 2014 we have overcome the situation. Now we have brought change in sports infrastructure, schemes related to financial help to sportspersons, selection process and training programs. We also brought changes in the mindset of society. Roadblocks in the sports ecosystem have been removed,” Modi added.

He said that the National Games are taking place at a time when the country is achieving new heights in the world of sports.

“In last 70 years, what never happened, we have seen happening in Asian Games. In Asian Para Games too, India has achieved more than 70 medals and have broken all past records. This success is an inspiration to athletes present here. National games are a strong launch pad for youth and sportspersons,” the Prime Minister added.

Praising Goa, Modi said that the state has given sportsstars and people are football lovers.

“Hence it is best to host national games here in a sports-loving state, where you get inspiration,” he added.

Around 43 sporting disciplines, including five indigenous sports — Mallakhamb, Kalaripayattu, Gatka, Lagori and Yoga — will be showcased during the National Games.

The event will be held across 28 venues in Panaji, Mapusa, Margao, Colva, Vasco and Ponda, and witness the participation of around 10,806 athletes, 49 per cent of them being women.

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