Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Monday inaugurated the Assam Rifles Public School (Sports). This would be the ‘first of its kind’ institution in the North East on the lines of MLN School of Sports at Rai (Sonipat), Haryana. The school will function under the Khelo India Program of the Government of India.
At present, 9 Sports Schools have been approved across the country, out of which 5 are managed by Defence & Para-military forces. In the Northeast region, Assam Rifles Public School is the first Sports School announced under the Khelo India scheme.
The Government shall now bear the expenses for Talented Sports Students of the school in terms of lodging, boarding, education expenses, competition exposure, insurance & medical, sports training & support, the salary of coaches & support staff, sports equipment, and more. The objective of a Khelo India Sports School is to integrate sports with education and in the process, develop sports in the country and improve the overall profile and outlook of athletes. This will also help in the identification and upliftment of talent from North-eastern, rural or tribal areas.
“It is a historic beginning of a journey for the Assam Rifles Public School and this Khelo India sports centre will be nurturing young boys and girls, who will, in the long run, bring medals from the Olympics,” mentioned Shri Rijiju.
The Union Minister also lauded the efforts of Lt. Gen. Sukhdeep Sangwan, Director-General, Assam Rifles, for making several positive changes in the school over the years. “Sport has always been an integral part of this school and they will be producing future champions. I must acknowledge Lt. Gen. Sukhdeep Sangwan for making tremendous changes in this school with the several initiatives taken over the years. The sports school will be an added crown in the achievement of the school and this will be a huge boost to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a sporting powerhouse.”
The Assam Rifles Public School was designated as a Khelo India Sports School because of a good track record in academics & sports, adequate boarding & lodging (hostel) facilities, sufficient space to develop sports facilities and inclination to develop Olympic sports under an inter-ministerial partnership between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The disciplines finalised for the school are Archery, Athletics and Fencing with total intake strength of 100 athletes (Boys & Girls in equal ratio) for the first year.
Lauding the efforts of the Assam Rifles, Shri Rijiju said that Assam Rifles is not only known for courage and bravery but also for its simplicity and for its sacrifice. He also said, “I’m sure anything associated with Assam Rifles is bound to succeed. Congratulations to the entire Assam Rifles family and my best wishes to the Principal, the faculty members of the school and more importantly the students”.
He elucidated the reasons for the poor performance of the country in the Olympics. He said, “It’s not the case that India does not have the talent. We have the potential. There are certainly other reasons. The mindset, the attitude of the government and more importantly, the attitude of the society”. Sports was not providing any career earlier. Except for some sports, we could not create talents. “We don’t create talents through the system. Sport is a tradition. I started taking interest in Sports and thanks to our Prime Minister Modiji, I was given the charge so, from Day 1, I realised that we should use all forces to make Sports a tradition”, he added.
ITBP and Assam Rifles have come forward to create talents for at the grassroots. The Assam Rifles Public School is a primary sector because this a school where we will nurture young boys and girls who want to become world champions, he added. And when we have set our agenda, India will have to be in the Top 10 of the Olympics. The minister explained his preparation for the Olympics as he said , “When I declare that India will be in the Top 10 of the 2028 Olympics, I did certain calculations. I talked to some people. Some of the experts, sports managers, then I used my own experience, my own will…It started from 2016. The potential Olympians get money and their trainings are made free. Everything is free. We provide everything. We have identified 400 till now”.
Stressing on the need to create sports facilities, the minister said that small countries with populations of just 26 lakh win in the Olympics. He said, “It’s because a young boy or girl stood up for the right thing at the right time. Professional training comes much later. First, you have to identify the champion. The sports facility is the main issue. Stadiums come much later. Sports facilities are primary. Assam Rifles Public School Sports Centre will be the foundation. We can bring out champions from here. Most importantly, we should be able to produce more Indian Coaches.”
He concluded his address by his assurance to provide top class coaches from the Sports Authority of India and that more funds will be provided for enhancing the facilities to the international standard.