- The sports ministry has granted ₹5 crores each to Anju Bobby George and Gagan Narang's academies.
- The Anju Bobby George will be getting an artificial track through the scheme.
- The duo expressed their satisfaction over the announcement.
After having to fight for their rights for quite some time now, the destination has finally arrived for Anju Bobby George and Gagan Narang. The two sporting legends had been striving hard for long to receive government funds for their academies.
However, the duo has received positive assurances from Sports Minister of India Kiren Rijiju late on Tuesday that the ministry will be granting them up to ₹ 5 crores each through the National Sports Development Fund. Rijiju confirmed about the allotment of funds to Anju on twitter.
Happy to meet Anju Bobby George, the first-ever and the only Indian to win a World Athletics Championships medal (Long Jump Bronze medal) at Paris in 2003. Today, sanctioned Rs 5 crore for her Athletics Academy at Bangaluru. pic.twitter.com/JQZUDmPYnc
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) September 17, 2019
Under the agreement, Anju’s athletics academy in Bengaluru, which comes under the wings of the Anju Bobby Sports Foundation, will be getting the long-awaited artificial track. Not that the lack of it stopped her from giving India its next big thing in women’s long jump in 15-year-old Shaili Singh. Singh recently set a junior national record.
“We were at the NSDF meeting. Gagan was also with us,” an elevated and relieved Anju said, “We made a presentation on our plans, and the ministry conveyed that the amount has been sanctioned. Then we met the minister, and he assured us.”
“After the initial paperwork is done, we will get half the amount within a month,” she added. “As construction progresses, we will get the remaining.”
Anju runs the academy in association with her husband and coach Robert Bobby George.
Rijiju has also promised to survey the academy by September 27.
“This is a dream come true for us, and we are happy this has happened. It will be a motivation for us to produce results. The sports secretary and SAI director-general too were present. We are thankful to them.” he said
As for Gagan, the assistance will be in the form of recognition for his vision to make the sport of shooting widely accessible.
“The vision for the academy remains the same — broad-basing the sport and make shooting accessible. Growing the sport at the grassroots level remains our main objective and hence expanding in tier 2 & tier 3 cities is always the plan,” the former shooter said. “Shooting as a sport has been growing. From a mere 3000 registered shooters in 2011, now there are 30,000. The support will help us in pushing the momentum further. There is a lot of ground to cover, and I am hoping to do the same over the next few months.”
Gagan was recently awarded the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar, another sign that the government is acknowledging and recognising his work towards shooting.
“Sportspersons are highly motivated individuals, pushing themselves to perform against all odds during their active career,” Gagan said. “Our dream of giving back to the system that I got so much out of was recently recognised by the government who gave us the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar. This grant gives us impetus to further strengthen our system and support the work we are doing from grassroots, all the way up to elite level. I have been a product of the system and would like to thank the minister and ministry for this grant.”