CHAT Karnataka MOS for Sports and Youth Services Abhaychandra Jain talks about his plans for the betterment of sport in the State

Abhaychandra Jain, the Minister of State for Sports and Youth Services, as well as Fisheries, states that he aims to provide a fillip to sports which are not part of the mainstream. Jain, who took office in May, spoke on the sidelines of the 34th National Masters Athletic Championships recently. “The ministry wants to encourage sports like wrestling, judo etc. Youngsters who take up these sports hail from poor families in villages. If we admit them in sports schools, they will work hard, and will surely shine."

He adds that popular sports like cricket will continue to thrive, with or without aid from the government. “Whether we encourage it or not, people will play cricket; those sports are like that. Affluent people have access to good coaches, good courts and facilities. But the common man looks to the government to support them.”

The 64-year-old contends that he is interested in sports and enjoys his responsibilities. He refrains from venturing into too much detail about his ministry’s plans for the State, but talks about a need to producing more Olympic athletes from Karnataka in the next five years. The elected representative of Moodabidri says that even though he is entrusted with the Fisheries department as well, the Youth and Sport ministry is more important.

Asked to give context to his ‘interest in sport’, he says, “My father was a great sportsman. When I was a child, I heard stories about him being the cricket captain of the Mysore Maharaja College team in 1925. Then, in 1934-35, he studied law at the Banaras Hindu University and played in the Ranji Trophy. I still have winner’s shields in my house now, and his blazer from the Banaras Hindu University. My father's achievements motivate me to this day.”

The four-time MLA is hopeful that in the next year's budget, a bigger percentage of the State's funds will be allocated

All governments which have ruled in the past have faced criticism fromdeserving athletes. Can we expect a good performance from this regime? “My doors are open to any athlete who has genuine concerns. I will do what I can. If it’s in my hands, I will surely set it right,” Jain promises.

ASHWIN ACHAL

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