Kolkata, Feb 5 (IANS) With the coronavirus in China wreaking havoc and expected to have implications for this year’s Olympic Games too, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra on Wednesday said that all Indian athletes are well informed about the epidemic.
“We are very much on board. We are going by all the medical advisories and sharing them with the athletes. Nobody is misinformed. We are not lacking in sharing any information. Don’t worry on that,” Batra said on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony by the Bengal Olympic Association at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here.
So far, over 500 people have died of the coronavirus, with over 23,000 confirmed cases around the world.
Asked about expectations from the July 24-August 8 Tokyo Games, Batra said he is hopeful about “shooters, boxers, shuttlers, weightlifters. golfers, equestrians among other disciplines.”
“I also hope that the Indian hockey men’s team, should it get going, too would be able to finish on the podium. We have medal hopes from them this time.
“2009 onwards we have run a full programme. Both men’s and women’s teams have made rapid progress. In fitness both men and women are second to none.”
He said the Indian athletes’ preparations are on track as they are aiming to go double digits and keep improving the figure to 40-plus by the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.
“I am not putting up a figure but I think we can take our tally to double figures. In 2024 (Paris), we should aim for 20-plus medals and 40-plus in Los Angeles. Then only we can say we want to bid for 2032 Olympics.”
Batra also reacted to the Union budget.
“As per current programme, senior (65 per cent) and junior (35 per cent) programmes used to come through SAI. We would give annual calendars. Entire junior programme now has gone to Khelo India.
“So actually that Rs 450 crore remains only for seniors now. There’s a substantial increase. Khelo India there’s an increase of almost Rs 500 crores. There was never any budget for National Sports Federations. SAI and Government never gave a penny to the National federations.”