Olympics: Rs 15-lakh state grant for 2 athletes

Often criticised for not looking after its sportspersons, the state government has learnt its lesson and funded two athletes from the state who are set to compete in the London Olympic Games.

Rahi Sarnobat, who is contesting in the 25m pistol shooting competition, and wrestler Narsingh Yadav were each given Rs 15 lakh to "train and prepare" for the Olympic Games by the state government.

After the delay in awarding Commonwealth Games winners last year, the move is part of a series of measures to strengthen the sports infrastructure in the state. Earlier this week, the government had tabled a detailed sports policy that envisions building sports complexes and training facilities in districts.

"Once it was clear that these two athletes would make it to the Olympics, we decided to fund their training as they have to go abroad. We will continue this endeavour in all future tournaments," said Minister for Sports Padmakar Valvi.

Valvi said the government had identified 30 sports regularly played in Maharashtra - such as wrestling and shooting to groom potential Olympics athletes over the next four years.

"We have identified these sports with an eye on the 2016 Olympics. We will try to create training facilities and sports centres to groom budding sportsmen," he said.

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