Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday announced a special scholarship scheme for elite sportspersons, under which the government will spend Rs.1.25 crore to nurture sportspersons capable of winning medals at international competitions such as Olympics.

An official release stated that five sportsmen or women will be chosen and steps taken to prepare them for winning medals at international events. The amount will be utilised to provide them training and quality food, enable them to take part in competitions held in other countries and procure high-tech equipment.

The scheme will also cover measures to help coaches improve their skills.

To encourage better participation by school and college students in sporting events, she doubled the financial assistance for school and college students bagging medals at national level, from Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000 and from Rs.6,500 to Rs.13,000 respectively. Due to the increase, the total expenditure incurred by the State government will be Rs.39.76 lakh, the release said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa set aside Rs.50 lakh as recurring expenditure to award Rs.1 lakh, Rs.75,000 and Rs.25,000 respectively as prize money to three toppers in 20 categories of athletic competitions for the State-level Chief Minister's Trophy. For developing local games in villages, she sanctioned Rs.62 lakh for 31 villages.