The need to build a sports culture in the country and the necessity to provide better facilities to sportspersons were two important points which emerged on the inaugural day of Turf 2012, the fourth Global Sports Summit, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry here on Thursday.

Among several speakers who stressed the change of attitude towards sport, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, also in-charge of the State sports department, said: “We do not have a plan or target for sports and it is not a priority in our country. We first need to change the mindset and see sports as a lucrative and successful full-time career option.”

The Joint Secretary in the Union Sports Ministry, Onkar Kedia, said the Government would soon finalise its ambitious OPEX 2020 Project under which athletes in about 10 disciplines would be provided help in attaining the goal of winning 25 medals in the Olympics. Kedia said the per capita expenditure on sports of two paise per day must increase significantly.

Retired Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana Justice Mukul Mudgal, who played a part in fine-tuning the draft National Sports Development Bill, said: “We must aim at best practices, public-private partnerships, legacy planning and ensure that the positives and negatives outcomes are all translated into action.”

FICCI chairman R.V. Kanoria pointed out the hindrances in the field of research on sports.

“One of the biggest difficulties is non-availability of data and documented knowledge related to sports. Also, there is no budgetary support to provide research and development support in sports,” he said.

Leading UK-based sports consultant Scott Hartley threw light on how Britain invested in sports research and grooming of athletes after managing just nine gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Eight years later in the London Olympics, Britain ended up third in the medals tally with 65 medals, including 29 gold.

Former National table tennis champion Indu Puri also spoke of spreading out low-cost infrastructure in smaller places.

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