Women relay team has medal prospect in Olympics:Sports Minister

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (UNI) Sports Minister M S Gill today candidly admitted that country's hopes for a medal in the Olympics depend on women's 4x400 meter relay team as he was of the view that Indian sportspersons have a very little chance in other competitions.

Gill gave his frank views on India's chances at Beijing Olympics on the sidelines of the Conference of the State Ministers of Youth Affairs and Sports.

''We know the high standards there... We cannot reach there.

Frankly speaking, we can only make our presence felt by going to the Olympics,'' Gill said He, however, added that any more medal will be a great achievement.

''But we should be happy if we get something in athletics.

Shooters are doing well but I will be very happy to see our girls running in the final of 4x400 meter relay team. It would be a big thing for me,'' he said.

Talking about formation of committees for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dronacharya awards, Gill promised total transperancy saying everything will happen in time and assured that no one will feel left out.

''I promise that everything will be done in time, there would be no delay in the proceedings,'' he said adding ''Every year I read in newspapers that some sportpersons are not happy with the selection and complains of injustice. We will have good committees and I will make sure our the selection committees do justice.'' He agreed to the view that sports was given step motherly treatment in the country.

''It is such a big country, there are so many sportspersons. It should have 2-3 times the budget it is allotted now. There should be 3000-4000 coaches,'' he stated.

The minister was of the view that disciplines like football, basketball and volleyball should be given more importance as they are mass based games.

Surprisingly Gill, himself a cricket buff, said ''A small section apart, India is a country of poor people and will remain so for sometime. Even if cricket is the most popular game it cannot be afforded by the people. A kit for Sachin Tendulkar alone will cost a fortune. So we need sports which are inexpensive, played on any surface and any weather.

''That is why, I feel football, which is the sport of the world, basketball, a lovely game, and volleyball to be kept in priority list as they don't need much infrastructure to get into. Besides, athletics beat every other game. The Africans have dominated even America by simply running, who can stop one from running,'' he said.

About selection controversy in the Indian Weightlifting Federation, he refused to react but said that no injustice will be done to anyone.

UNI HSB RKM KN1755

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