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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

UK announces 3.6 mn pound fillip to India's Olympic dream

The Indian Olympic dream is all set to get a 3.6 million pound boost with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today launching a sports initiative in the country in partnership with UNICEF.

"International Inspiration - India' is a UK-led sports development initiative to be implemented in India, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Palau and Zambia.

The programme worth nine-million pounds will see India get 3.6 million pounds for developing athletes for Olympics and paralympics.

"India is one of the greatest sporting nations in the world. As we prepare to hold the Olympics in London in 2012 before which India hosts the 2010 Commonwealth Games here, this initiative will help strengthen our sporting ties," Brown told reporters here.

Besides UNICEF, the initiative is also supported by British Olympics Association, the British Local Organising Committee Olympic Games, and is expected to get the Football Association's (FA) backing very soon.

"With these efforts, we want to give new chances to young talent. I hope Indian and British athletes will get together and work towards excelling in Olympics," Brown said.

"This is a partnership that is working towards future to encourage sports in both the nations," he added.

The initiative is targeted primarily at the rural areas with the aim of providing children with sporting facilities and coaching staff.

The programme aims to work closely with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports besides the National Sports Federations and Sport Authority of India (SAI) to achieve the target.

It will also involve various government schools and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to impart health awareness and reach out to disabled children and girls, Brown said.

The British Prime Minister, who is on a two-day visit to India, also interacted with several differently-abled young athletes after announcing the initiative.


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