IOC President inaugurates 'International Club Games, India'

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Pune, Oct 16 (UNI) A new chapter has been added to the sporting history of the country with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacque Rogge formally set into motion the concept of 'International Club Games, India Inititaitive' (ICGII) with a view to take Olympic sports to the grassroots level.

The concept having gained momentum in various countries to give recognition to sportspersons representing their clubs before their countries are to be extended due recognition.

''It gives me an opportunity not only to visit India the largest democratic country in the world, but also participate at the launch of the ICGII, which will help India join the league of leading nations who lead in the promotion of sports at the club level,'' Rogge said.

He cited the example of former triple Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, and Olympic middle distance runners, both of whom rose from club level to become an icon in athletics.

''I feel that it might not not be wrong on my part to say that the vibrant youth of India has come a long way to join leading sporting nations like Australia and England the pioneer in the field of sports, in the current 3rd Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG-2008) games currently in progress here.'' Mincing no words, Rogge said during the British rule over India, they not only made meaningful contributions in promotion of Olympic sports like athletic, but also in promotion of Cricket in the Indian subcontinent.

''Likewise the IOC would like to promote Olympic sports in India by taking the initiative to start the 'International Club Games' in India to capture the mass appeal in a bid to counter the game of cricket,'' he said.

''I am here not to criticize nor for that matter to praise the organizers of the CYG-2008, but to make the youth of the commonwealth countries to take up to the game more seriously and promote the game by fielding bigger contingents. India has shown the way by attracting the largest number of 71 countries by promoting the games in the right perspective,'' he added.

Replying to a question Rogge stated that India has been a very strong contender to host the world's most superlative sporting extravaganza - the Olympic Games. Rogge, however, has some reservervations which he did not divulge.

Earlier, IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh, who was re-elected unopposed for the fourth term, elaborated the concept mooted by the IOC President.

Randhir Singh, who is also the member of the IOC, elaborated the concept to take the Olympic sports to the rural areas.

Singh said he has no doubt whatsoever that the sportspersons coming from the rural areas have been the strength of Indian sports specially in athletics.

Highlighting the concept, former minister of state for Defence and nIformation and Boradcasting now heading the Games Technical Conduct Committee (GTCC) for both Pune and Delhi Games, Brig KP Singh Deo, while welcoming the scheme, said it was originally planned when Mani Shankar Iyer was handling the 'Panchayati Raj' portfolio in the UPA Government besides being the former Union Sports Minister.

Explaining the scheme, Deo, who is also the President of the Rowing Federation of India (RFI), said if the government persues and implements the scheme, it will help to scout talent from the rural areas which will certainly benefit in India gaining medals in all disciplines.

UNI IS AB SB KP1906

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