Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said he wants more sporting events to take place in India, adding that his Ministry will extend "full support" for the same.
The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) took place in the national capital on Sunday. Apart from Rijiju, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Abhinav Bindra, who was the ambassador for the event's 16th edition, were also present at ADHM, which was flagged off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
"I congratulate the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon for a wonderful event and world champions have taken part in it. I think the lockdown period is over and we are starting with sporting activities. Delhi Half Marathon has become a very, very important international event. And all support is coming from the Delhi government and from the sports ministry, we are also fully backing this event," Rijiju told reporters.
"Olympic qualification matches are going to happen. So, I want more sporting events to take place, of course, while following all the norms and safety measures. I have already told National Sports Federations and the Indian Olympic Association also to chalk out a plan for different national and international events which are going to be held in India. And we are giving full support," he added.
Rijiju also said that the Sports Ministry will work with the health ministry for the procurement of coronavirus vaccine, adding that Olympic-bound and staff will be given preference.
"Whether it is Olympics or any big event, the preference will be given to our Olympic-bound athletes as well as the staff. We will work out with the health ministry," he said.
Rijiju also expressed his excitement over the ADHM 2020 on Twitter and wrote: "First major outdoor international sports event post-pandemic in India. I am very excited to see the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon attracted top international and India's Marathon runners! #ADHM2020."
Whereas, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters: "I was a little nervous when this event was being planned in Delhi as national and international athletes are coming and the number of cases in the national capital was increasing. But I am glad that this event has been a big ice-breaking event. This event tells us that we have to live with corona until the vaccine comes." (ANI)