Asserting that our preparation for Olympics was on a par with global standards, Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, on Sunday, expressed confidence that Punjab athletes would once again bring laurels for the country and state in Olympics to be held from July 23 to August 8 this year in Tokyo, Japan as Punjab is sending second largest contingent of the country to these coveted games.
Extending warm wishes to Olympics bound players in a press communique here, Rana Sodhi said, “India is sending 117 members largest ever contingent to Olympics, out of which 14 percent players belongs to Punjab. As we are sending second largest contingent of the state after Haryana, the players from Punjab will be able to win at least three to four Olympic medals.”
The Sports Minister assured them of fulsome government support and facilities. “We will take care of their financial and logistics” , said the Sports Minister, sharing details of players going to Tokyo, which includes Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinderpal Singh, Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh (Hockey Captain), Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh and Gurjit Kaur (all hockey players), Anjum Maudgill and Angad Veer Singh (Shooting), Simranjit Kaur (Boxing), Kamalpreet Kaur, Tajinderpal Singh Toor and Gurpreet Singh (Athletics).
Sharing another good news, he said that Punjab got the captaincy in the Olympics after 21 years and Manpreet Singh, DSP, Punjab Police will lead Indian Hockey Team as captain in Tokyo Olympics. He will also be flag bearer of the Indian contingent.
The Cabinet Minister said that the state government and Punjabis are keen on seeing Punjab feature among the top states in the Indian medal tally of Olympics. The plan to make Punjab a sporting powerhouse is already at various stages of implementation with “Catch-them-Young” being the guiding motto. Many youngsters have been identified and the department has started talent scouting at the grassroots level. Top coaches are being roped in to hone their talent and prepare them for the big leagues.
With a bottom-up approach, Rana Sodhi highlights how focused efforts are being made to create a sporting culture in Punjab through various national programs like Khelo India, Fit India movement, besides injecting measures for grassroots level motivation. He said that India especially Punjab does not have any shortage of human resources or of talent in the country. However, specific efforts are required to make sports as a career option with pride and respect.