Underdogs Can Bring Medals Too And We Shouldn’t Underestimate Them, Says Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh

Underdogs Can Bring Medals Too And We Shouldn’t Underestimate Them, Says Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep SinghSandeep Singh

”In my opinion, every sportsperson going to Olympics is very important. We should not view only some as stars and expect that only they will bring medals for the country. We should not underestimate underdogs. Sometimes when we are not expecting medals from someone, he/she ends up surprising us,” says Sandeep Singh, former Indian hockey player, an Olympian and current Sports and Youth Affairs minister of Haryana.

Singh also cautioned athletes against dangers of distractions such as fanfare and media limelight. Affirming the role of fans, he said entire country needs to steadfastly support India’s Olympics contingent as that adds to the players’ confidence and motivation.

He was addressing a session organised by Haryana Thinkers Forum where he talked about his own experiences as being the youngest hockey player to ever play for India in Olympics, preparedness of Haryana’s players who constitute 24 per cent of India’s contingent at Tokyo, his journey from a sportsman to a minister and how his government is helping the players and the incentives announced for those who bring laurels.

A Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, a two-time Olympian and one of the world’s best drag flickers in his prime, Sandeep Singh offered important insights on the the sporting system in Haryana and in the country.

“In the last one and a half years as a minister, we have instituted lot of new things. For all the Haryana athletes qualified to go to Tokya, we ensured that they received participation support amount of Rs five lakh in advance to better prepare themselves. The idea was to help those who come from financially poor background and that they don’t face difficulties in getting the right nutrition or other needed gear before the games. Second, we increased monthly support to Rs 20,000 to awardees of Khel Ratna, Arjun award, Dronocharya award, Dhyanchand award and Tenzing Norway award. Earlier even Khel Ratna awardees used to get only Rs 5,000 and it was even less for others. Moreover, these athletes will receive this support for the rest of their lives,” Singh informed.

Last month, Singh had announced that a cash amount of Rs 6 crore will be given to sportspersons from the state who will win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, Rs 4 crore to Silver medal winners and Rs 2.5 crore to Bronze medalists. Apart from this, the winners will be given a government job and sent on deputation to education and other departments.

In the discussion, Singh also talked about his shift from sports to politics, a radically different world altogether. His vast personal experience in sports has helped him deliver on this front as a minister, he said.

On the importance of sports in the lives of the country’s youth, he laid emphasis on how it is critical to ensure that we mentor and guide the teenagers of the country into not falling prey to drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances. It is crucial to keep the country’s youth healthy, both physically and mentally, by nudging them to create a fitness regime, avoid junk food and stay focussed. He also talked about his initiative of launching thousands of youth clubs across Haryana, wherein the youth is provided skills training relevant to their specific interest and aspirations.

Below is the link for whole conversation with Singh.


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