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Systemic changes needed for 12 medals in Rio: Sachin

New Delhi: Iconic cricketer and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar has advocated "systemic changes" in Indian sports so that "12 medals in next Olympics in Rio or 20 in 2020 is not a pipe dream".

Tendulkar, who has expressed a desire to promote sports in educational institutes, said sports in curriculum and history books highlighting the monumental achievements of greats like hockey legend Dhyan Chand will help stir a passion for the games hitherto less developed.

"Organisation of Asian Games in 1951 encouraged by Pandit Nehru is an integral part of Indian national story that should be read by our students. It helped shape Delhi, as did the 1982 Asiad and the 2010 CWG," he has said in his letter to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal.

Tendulkar's assertion for a change in the system comes from his belief that vision for "sports for all is still in its infancy" in this country.

"…I wish to argue that the time is ripe to build on the success of London to take giant strides in sports and achieve excellence in the not too near future. 12 medals in Rio or 20 in 2020 isn't a pipedream if we appropriate the momentum created and undertake a few fundamental changes," feels Tendulkar.

Outlining his objectives in a three-page letter, he has suggested state-of-the-art finishing schools for specific Olympic disciplines on the lines of National Cricket Academy in Bangalore where the country has shown potential.

For instance, he said, in Haryana the centre of excellence can cater to wrestling and boxing. "We welcome Sachin Tendulkar's proposals and I have already written to him inviting him for a presentation," Sibal had said.

The cricketer, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, also rooted for a National Institute of Sports Science, saying "India desperately needs" it.

The institute will act as a nodal agency for treating sports-related injuries and ensuring proper rehabilitation facilities for sports icons, besides educating sportspersons about anti-doping regulations, Tendulkar said.

He suggested the setting up of a sports museum to immortalise the achievements of sports-stars.

Stating that the museum could be set up in the capital, preferably at a heritage site, Tendulkar said an advisory body with international experts should be formed for the purpose.

Expressing a keen desire to emulate the US sports system model in India which is reliant on College-University framework producing US Olympians of repute, he said, "my dream is to accomplish the same in India."

He felt mobile phones possessed by most youths today can be used for harnessing sports talent. They could be urged to send SMS or MMS detailing their sports achievement, which experts can examine.

"If the candidate is deemed to have talent, he or she will be called to access the sports facilities created within the academic framework. By making facilities available to them, the talented youngsters, sports, I expect, will get the necessary recognition and become part of India's everyday existence," he said.

Noting that Olympic sports should also dominate India's national imagination, he said the country could well bid for 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

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