Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal felicitated 77 top level performing sports people under the ‘Mission Excellence Scheme’ on Thursday that provides financial assistance to players for training. Kejriwal said, “This scheme is not just for the people of Delhi, but for the entire country. Because when these sports people win laurels globally, not just Delhi but the whole nation will feel proud and celebrate them.”
Launching the ceremony, he said, “Just how the Delhi Government has been delivering on the promises of providing electricity, water, education and health, we are doing the same for sports. Our dream is that India should bring more medals than China in international games. We have made several plans, including building a Delhi Sports University, to fulfil this dream.” Kejriwal appealed to the players to work hard, and to do their best to make the country proud.
Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia provided financial assistance of Rs 4.39 crore to 77 players from Delhi. At the ceremony held at Delhi Secretariat, Sisodia informed the players about the scheme, and said a ‘Committee of Experts’ was set up that selected the players which included Karnam Malleswari, Akhil Kumar, Manisha Malhotra, Gagan Narang and Ronjan Sodhi.
Kejriwal while congratulating the players said, “When a player wins a medal in our country, a lot of people stand with that player. But when the player is struggling in his journey to achieve those medals, not just financially but also emotionally, he is often alone. We want to change that.”
He also discussed the challenges sports aspirants face in India. He said that in India, there is a notion that playing sports means one is wasting their time, time that could be spent on studying, and excelling in academics. Because of this belief system, the dynamic field of sports does not receive the support it rightly deserves. “Despite this, players like you, overcome your struggle and reach massive heights of success,” said Kejriwal while praising the determination of the players.
He also said our country of 1.3 billion has so much talent yet is unable to match other countries in bringing home medals. “There are talented players in every village and every locality, but they do not get the support of any government. The Delhi government will provide that ray of hope for such players and nurture them,” he added.
He said that just how the Delhi Government has been succeeding in providing clean water, subsidized electricity, and quality education, it is also leading in supporting sports. “Our dream is that our country should bring more medals than China in international games. There is a complete vision for the development of sports. We are building a sports university in Delhi so that players like you can get world-class training and coaching. School- level players will be assisted under the Early Childhood Scheme who show potential in the field of sports. Similarly, the Mission Excellence Scheme has been created for middle and high level players,” he said.
He also said that the Delhi government is doing this to prepare the players and help them develop an edge over their competitors, nationally and internationally. He reassured the players present there, and asked them to come to him if they ever need any support.
“If the country and the government is doing this for you, then you too should leave no stone unturned in doing something for the country,” said Kejriwal.
Following this, the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister distributed cheques to the players.
Sisodia also congratulated the players, and said that when Delhi’s players achieve success in sports, the government gets encouraged. “Our Chief Minister is always asking us, what else can we do for the players? So we take your feedback. This way, when we do something new for the players, you get encouraged. This is a cycle which is in the interest of Delhi and the country to keep going upwards.”
“In India, generally, sports people are felicitated and given grants after they've already won the laurels. But who supports the upcoming sports people, the ones who keep toiling to achieve their goals. Our Hon. CM wants to stand with these players because there’s no one to stand with them,’ Sisodia said.
Encouraging the youngsters, Sisodia said, “You all are Delhi's Promising Stars, and Delhi is looking at you. You should play well and bring medals for the country, and we are ready to help you in every way possible.” He added that a total of 708 applications were received this year. Out of these, 77 players have been selected by a prestigious expert committee without any interference from the government.
He said that due to the Corona crisis, sporting events have suffered a lot which has impacted the players severely. However, he said that it is imperative to move forward in the world of sports, and adapt to the circumstances.
“Delhi Sports University is a step forward in that direction. We also need your suggestions. Tell us what you need from us, and we will do our best to deliver that,” Sisodia said.
At the ceremony, famous wrestling player Sushil Kumar said that such a scheme is unique, and a one-of-its-kind in the country. “It surely boosts the morale of the players,” said Kumar.
The players who received the financial assistance at the ceremony were also overwhelmed at the support, and called it “Kejriwal's Diwali gift". Para athlete, Reena, said that she received a cheque of eight lakh rupees from the Delhi Government. “I will be using this for my training and I will try to become a player of international level. I will try my best to fulfill CM’s vision for us.”
Junior Judo national level player, Harsh Dalal said, “I never thought that a government could provide so much financial support to the players to prepare and improve our skills. If the government continues to provide us this assistance, we will do our best to bring medals for the country.”
Similarly, Judo player Garima Tokas lauded the Chief Minister Kejriwal’s vision. “During such an unprecedented time for Corona, such assistance will only increase our dedication towards the game.”
Mission Excellence Scheme provides financial assistance to top level performing sportspeople for their training and participation in international events. Launched in 2018, the main goal of the scheme is to groom, and support sports people across categories to compete at international level including Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and other competitive sports events nationally.
This year, the number of players selected under the scheme across sporting categories are - athletics (25, including para athletes), badminton, (1), basketball (1), boxing (3), judo (10), karate (4), kayaking and canoeing (1), pencak silat (1), sepak takraw (4), shooting (7), soft tennis (1), swimming (1), tennis (1), wrestling (10), and wushu (7).