Tue, 26 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], June 8 (ANI): Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said Rs 220 crores have been sanctioned so far for the preparations of the Asian Games by the centre.

"India's preparations for the Asian Games are going well. I have full confidence that we will win the maximum number of medals till date in this year's Asian Games. For its preparation, the Government of India has so far sanctioned Rs 220 crores," said Thakur to the media.

While reviewing India's preparedness for the upcoming Asian Games he divulged that more than Rs 450 crores have been spent under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) scheme from the previous Olympics held back in 2021 till now.

"The 100th meeting of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, started in 2014 under the leadership of the Prime Minister, has been held. Since the last Olympics till now, we have spent more than 450 crores," added the minister.

Thakur said that more than 350 proposals from athletes training under the TOPS scheme have been approved.

"The government bears all of their expenses of boarding, lodging and training within the country and abroad also. Our athletes will get help from 142 foreign camps, and 71 national camps. 2,100 athletes will get benefit from all this.

The minister said that all the associations are making efforts to complete their trials and team selection before June 30 as July 15 is the deadline.

The minister while talking to the media predicted that Indian athletes will return with the country's best-ever medal haul from the Asian Games later this year.

India is expected to send one of the largest contingents to the Asian Games this year with athletes competing in non-traditional sports like kurash, jujutsu, and chess.

The 2022 Asian Games will be held in China from September 23-October 8, 2023. It was supposed to be held last year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China.

Talking about the meeting with wrestlers protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh, Thakur said, "It was a positive meeting with the protesting wrestlers yesterday. We have assured them that the probe will be completed by June 15 and a chargesheet will be filed. The election of WFI will be done by June 30."After meeting with India's star wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik on Wednesday, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur assured them that the ongoing probe against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh would be completed by June 15 and a chargesheet will be submitted.

A six-time BJP MP, Brij Bhushan was booked by Delhi Police following allegations of sexual harassment.

Earlier, on Wednesday, wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik reached Thakur's residence in the national capital, responding positively to a call for discussion by the government on the demands and issues put forward by the grapplers during their protest.

"I had a long 6-hour discussion with the wrestlers. We assured them that the probe would be completed by June 15 and a chargesheet would be submitted. The next election for WFI president will be conducted by June 30," the Union Sports minister said.

Speaking to reporters at his residence after holding parleys with the ace grapplers, Thakur added, "An Internal Complaint Committee of the wrestling federation will be constituted. It will be headed by a woman. We have demanded that all FIRs filed against wrestlers be withdrawn.

They also requested that Brij Bhushan Singh, who has completed 3 terms (as WFI chief), and his associates be asked not to stand for the elections again. The wrestlers promised not to hold any fresh protests before June 15," said Thakur.

Meanwhile, Bajrang Puina said the government assured that the police probe against the WFI chief will be completed before June 15.

"The government has assured us that the police investigation will be completed before June 15. We requested that all FIRs against wrestlers be taken back and he (Thakur) agreed to it. If no action is taken by June 15, we will launch fresh protests," said Punia after meeting Thakur. (ANI)

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