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C'Wealth Games success tops Gill's agenda

April 08, 2008 20:29 IST

His predecessor Mani Shankar Aiyar was not particularly impressed by the idea of India hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but new sports minister M S Gill made it clear on Tuesday that making the event a grand success tops his agenda.

After taking over the ministerial reins, Gill said successfully staging of the 2010 Games is his priority.

"Now that we have been entrusted with the responsibility of hosting the Commonwealth Games, we have to make sure that it proves a big success," Gill said.

Aiyar, who was at loggerheads with the Indian Olympic Association for a major part of his stint as sports minister, was sceptical of the entire exercise and famously said events like these are of little consequence to common people.

Gill, meanwhile, was pained by the huge financial gap between cricketers and other sportspersons and promised to take up the case of pension for needy athletes.

"Money is showered on cricketers but athletes who win medals in Asian or other international meets don't get similar treatment. Appearing in a photograph with the Prime Minister and that's it," he rued.

"I want the government to do something for them. Government spends a lot of money on sports and I think needy athletes should get pension," he said.

He said television changed the face of cricket, bringing in huge riches, and had an adverse effect on other sports.

On the autonomy of national sports federations, Gill said he was aware of the Olympic Charter but asserted the government too is a stakeholder.

"I know there is this Olympic Charter, but, traditionally, government has always played an important role. After all, it's the government which spends crores of rupees," he said.

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