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TOI Dialogues: India’s Grassroots strategy for upcoming Olympics | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The second chapter of TOI dialogues held in UP witnessed key figures in Indian sports deliberating on the nation’s journey towards becoming a powerhouse in the global sporting arena.
The discussion, titled “Grassroots Development in Sports: Building the Next Generation of Athletes,” featured eminent personalities like Addile Sumariwala (AFI President), Jagbir Singh and Zafar Iqbal (Former Indian Hockey Captains), and Manjusha Kanwar (DGM, Sports Department, IOC).
Jagbir Singh and Zafar Iqbal shed light on the Indian hockey teams’ significant progress, concerted efforts that have spanned over eight years. Singh remarked, “Hockey is well prepared. They don’t have to go for fun; they are in it to win it.” This sentiment was echoed by Iqbal, who highlighted the enhanced exposure and rigorous training that have reinvigorated Indian hockey.
The remarkable achievements of Neeraj Chopra, India’s javelin thrower and Olympic gold medalist, have significantly influenced the nation’s athletic psyche. Addile Sumariwala noted, “Neeraj winning a medal has totally changed the psyche. If Neeraj can do it, anybody can do it.” Chopra’s success story serves as a beacon of inspiration, demonstrating that with the right support and determination, Indian athletes can excel on the world stage.
Manjusha Kanwar and Sumariwala elaborated on the comprehensive grassroots initiatives that have been instrumental in expanding India’s athletic talent pool. Sumariwala pointed out, “On the grassroots, we went to the district level and created a structure at the district level.” Kanwar highlighted the collaborative efforts between various stakeholders, including government bodies, sports federations, and educational institutions, in building a sustainable and inclusive sports development framework.
Reflecting on India’s journey from the Rio to the Tokyo Olympics, the panelists discussed the significant growth in both the number of participants and the quality of performances. There is a palpable sense of optimism about India’s prospects in the upcoming Olympics, with expectations of more finalists and potentially more medalists. “We will do better in the next Olympics,” Sumariwala stated confidently, reinforcing the belief that India’s strategic investment in grassroots sports is yielding promising results.





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