NEW DELHI: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was his optimistic self as the sports minister today reckoned that India has the potential to produce 100 Usain Bolts if everyone comes together and pitches in to change the country's sports culture.
Rathore spoke about the various efforts being made by the government to improve the selection process at the school level, such as the national-level talent hunts scheduled around May-June next year.
"In India there is skill based selections so other countries are able to out run us, we want to change that.
"Someone who is 5 feet 11 inches at the age of 12 should be selected for volleyball or basketball teams while somebody with no hand-eye coordination but runs extremely fast should be put in for 100 metre running," the sports minister said.
"I firmly believe that a country with 1.25 billion population has capability of producing 100 Usain Bolts," said Rathore, who won a landmark silver medal in shooting at the 2004 Olympics.
He said the government's focus was to promote sports among the school children, which will encourage them to participate at the regional and national level.
"We have for the first time got a sports broadcaster that will broadcast live the national school sports events. There is maximum audience at a school event but you have zero audience at a National event," Rathore said.
The minister also called the private sector to partner with the government with new and innovative ideas to help towards the betterment of sports.
"We (government) have the funds and the raw materials, lets combine the two with the help of your (private sector) ability to operate things," Rathore said.
He said resources need to be used more efficiently and for that there needs to be a change in the outlook of the bureaucracy and the private sector.
"A useless piece of land next to the Sabarmati, that housed decapitated government buildings, has been converted into an international class stadium. Such projects help use the land better and also generate revenue," said Rathore, who won a silver in double trap at the Athens Games.
Rathore said his ministry has proposed an App that will provide information about the nearest playground anywhere in India, will provide tips on how to play a game, the rules of the game and also give information which was earlier only available to the professionals.
"Many times we are unaware of the rules and regulations of the sports like weightlifting. This App will provide everything at one place," he said.