Sports Minister Ajay Maken today announced that the Central Government would soon launch a national level sports programme known as National Physical Fitness Programme (NPFP).
The programme would be launched on the pattern of Haryana's Sports and Physical Aptitude Test (SPAT), which was started in the state two years back to hunt budding talents.
The programme has been approved by the Planning Commission in 12th Five Year Plan and it would formally be launched shortly, Maken said in a function after inaugurating a Sports Training Centre of Sports Authority of India here.
Maken and Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda also laid foundation stone of a sports hostel, which has a capacity of 100 inmates and a multipurpose hall at the centre.
Lauding Haryana Government's Sports Policy, Maken said that the state has provided the best promotion to sports in the country.
"If all other states also follow Haryana's model in sports, India can easily rank among top five countries in Olympics. Haryana contributed four of the six medals won by the country in last Olympics," he Maken.
The Minister said that one-and-a-half years back he had taken a policy decision that no new SAI sports centre would be opened, but Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda called on him with a request to open a centre in Haryana and he continued to follow up, and that made him sanction it while giving relaxation to the existing policy.
He announced that the SAI centre at Meham would be developed as the top SAI centre in the country.
Hooda thanked Maken for sanctioning Sports Training Centre of SAI for Meham here on request of Deepender, who was also present in today's function, deviating from the policy of not opening any more centres.
The Chief Minister said that Haryana Government was contemplating to implement the Right to Play Act on the pattern of Right to Education Act, as implemented by the UPA government in the country.
Hooda assured Maken that given proper coaching, the players can bring laurels not only for the state but also for the country.
"Haryana boys and girls have potential and this centre would prove to be a milestone in preparing the players of international standard. Already the state has two centers in Bhiwani and another in Sonipat," said Hooda.
He also said that a sports hostel would be set up in Dariyapur village in district Fatehabad.
Hooda informed that under the SPAT programme, the youngsters in the age group of 8 to 19 years are picked up in their childhood. In the first phase of the programme, 80,000 children applied and 43,000 children came for test, whereas in the second phase there were 20 lakh applicants.
The State Government selected 5,000 children and was providing monthly scholarships and proper training to them, which has motivated the parents also and today there is an atmosphere for sports in the State, he added.
Among others present on the occasion today included Punjab's Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar and Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar.