Sports minister Kiren Rijiju has urged people to encourage players by watching sports they participate in. Even if the people are unable to play sports, he wants them to watch the games and support the players.
The minister asserted the need for the people’s support and claimed that the fate and popularity of a sport remain in the hands of the people who opt to watch the game.
“Not everyone can play games, but if you can’t play, then watch the games and encourage the players. The number of viewers of a game in a stadium and people watching them on television decide the popularity of the game and can attract sponsorships which can help the sport grow,” he said while addressing a group of players
Also speaking to the group of medal winners under the ‘Khelo India’ initiative organised by ‘Krida Bharti’, he opened about the people’s view on the less-popular native and Olympic sports.
“If we arrange a hockey match in a stadium with a seating capacity of 80,000, but if there are only 2,000 viewers, then who will support that game? If the television viewers for a game are high, the sponsors will run towards the organisers,” he said
He went on to claim that it is futile to blame the government and a particular sport will only blossom if the people take an active interest in watching it and supporting the athletes.
Several of the sports in India, despite a talented pool of players, fail to find support from the public. Rijiju compared the situation to countries such as China and Japan, where the stadiums fill up even for the sports which are not locally popular.
“If we see even small competitions in China, Japan or any western country, stadiums are full of viewers. Here even if the world’s biggest athletes come, we cannot have a stadium full of viewers to see him,”
He concluded by stating that the government have plans to organise the maiden Yogasana Championship in 2021 and stressed the need for more competitions in the country
“Players win or lose, not everyone can be a champion. Everyone has a dream to play for the country, but not everyone can fulfil that. There is a need to have competitions such as leagues, national and state-level league competitions for those who didn’t reach much far and remained behind due to various reasons,” he reasoned