India will win 10 plus medals at Rio Olympics: Sports Minister
Kolkata: Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is confident that India's medal tally in next year's Rio Olympic Games will go up to 10 plus from six medals, which the country's athletes bagged at London Olympics in 2012.
"Of course this time the number will go up. Earlier, the figure was six, which was the maximum number of medals won so far, but this time the medal tally will go up. It will be 10 plus," Sonowal told reporters here on Saturday.
The Minister said that the scheme -- Target Olympic Podium (TOP) -- has been launched with the objective to win more medals in the Olympics.
"That is why we are supporting the medal prospect athletes in whatever possible way. We are extending the best possible support, so that they can play comfortably and as per their merit can achieve the goal," he said.
Sonowal was in the city to participate in the award ceremony of the 32nd Diploma Course in Sports Coaching conducted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) held at the Netaji Subhas Eastern Centre here.
India won six medals, including two silver and four bronze in London.
The TOP scheme was initiated by the Youth Affairs and Sports department under National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) for identifying and supporting potential medal prospects winners for 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.
"They have studied the performances of the athletes and chosen a number of medal prospect athletes. The Identification Committee has identified 45 athletes from six disciplines as potential medal winners for next year's Olympics.
"We are giving them funds as per their requirement for training, exposure, supplement and as per their programme," said the Minister.
The athletes have been chosen from different disciplines such as athletics, badminton, boxing, sailing, shooting and wrestling.
Confirming that Guwahati and Shillong would host the 12th South Asian Games (SAG), Sonowal said the possible dates could be in November or December.
Officials of the national Olympic bodies of eight South Asian countries would meet in Guwahati next month to decide on the dates of the 12-day affair.
The meeting would also decide on the number of disciplines to be included in the SAG.
Meanwhile, at the ceremony, 68 successful candidates, who successfully completed their diploma course in sports coaching for various disciplines like archery, athletics, boxing, cricket and football were handed certificates by the minister.