Govt-backed athletes should set up academies, centres: Sports Min

Touched with Paralympian Mariyappan Thangavelu’s gesture to donate Rs 30 lakh from his prize money to his school, Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Monday said that all athletes backed by the government should try to set up academies or centres of their own to inspire the youth.

Mariyappan, who scripted history at Rio Paralympics after winning a gold medal in high jump, has donated Rs 30 lakh from his 2 crore prize money towards his government school in Tamil Nadu.

“It’s a great thing, a great step taken by Mariyappan, this will inspire others. I think all athletes who are helped by the government can try to set up academies or sports centres of their own. This will definitely inspire one and all,” Goel said after the launch of online portal of SAI-AIFF Overseas Scouting Project.

Mariyappan hails from Periyavadagampatti, a village located 50 km from Salem in the western part of the state. The Sports Ministry last week said it has started a “thorough review” of India’s dismal outing at the Rio Olympics and is also seeking feedbacks and suggestions from the athletes who competed in the quadrennial extravaganza.

“It has just started. It will take time and as you know I have sought feedbacks and suggestions from the athletes. I have written to and mailed all the athletes about this. I am personally going to meet them and talk to them in this regard,” Goel said.

India finished with a disappointing tally of two medals, through PV Sindhu’s silver in badminton and Sakhsi Malik’s bronze in wrestling, at the two-week sporting gala last month.

This has prompted the concerned stakeholders to look into the past and analyse the performances to ensure a better future.