Govt will extend all help to athletes for 2012 Olympics: Maken

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New Delhi, Mar 16: Eyeing more laurels in the 2012 London Olympics, India have already started its preparations in three disciplines - shooting, archery and hockey - and Sports Minister Ajay Maken today said the government will extend all possible support to the athletes in their quest for glory.

India are eyeing to qualify in about 16 disciplines in the London Games and Maken said efforts were already on to give the best-possible training and exposure to the athletes, keeping in mind the mega-event, which starts on Jul 27 next year and will conclude on Aug 12.

The 16 disciplines which are on India's radar for the London Games are archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, gymnastics (artistic men), hockey, judo, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.

"We have already started training for three disciplines - shooting archery and hockey. Our target is to train 450 players for London Olympics," Maken told reporters after attending a preparatory camp of the Indian hockey team, which started at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium yesterday.

"The archery camp has already stated at Kolkata in Jan and the shooting camp is also on in Karni Singh Shooting Range," he said.

"We will provide 3-4 star boarding facilities for the athletes. We will also provide training-cum-foreign exposure tours to all the probables. The government will bear all the expenses -- boarding as well as providing food during foreign tours," Maken added.

He also said that keeping in mind the London Games, the government has already roped in 19 foreign coaches for various disciplines and will utilise the Commonwealth Games stadia for training purposes.

Asked whether the government has any plans to rope in a foreign coach for the Indian hockey team after the departure of Spaniard Jose Brasa, Maken said, "The government does not select a coach. The government only calls for recommendations from national federations. We are a facilitator."


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