Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said that the country needs to make marathon a culture and a popular event in the country.
Rijiju's remarks came as he was attending the New Delhi Marathon 2021 on Sunday and he also conferred awards to the winners along with BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi.
"The New Delhi Marathon was conducted successfully. It has proven that away from the pandemic situation All the marathon runners, expressed satisfaction with the arrangement. This shows it was well arranged. The bigger point is how we make the marathon a culture and make it a popular event in India. Marathon, mini-marathon, half marathon, and full marathon- these events can be organised in different structures from the grassroots level in rural areas, villages, towns, and cities like Delhi," Rijiju told reporters here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
"Marathon is very exciting. It galvanises the whole forces in society. Other than professional runners, other people can also take part. We can think about organising a marathon in different forms and structures. I would like to compliment the athletic federation of India. Although this is a very successful event but none of our runners could qualify for the Olympics because of certain reasons. I am sure in the next event, all will make it," he added.
New Delhi Marathon 2021 was flagged off during the early morning hours on Sunday at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
On Saturday, Rijiju once again echoed the sentiments that Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes will be given priority for the coronavirus vaccine followed by other athletes.
"We will take care of our elite athletes thereafter all the junior athletes will be taken care of. But the focus is on Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes, they will be given priority because safety is of utmost importance. If any player gets infected at this point in time it will really spoil their chances of competing in the Olympics because if you are infected then you have to follow the quarantine and take medication then your dream is over so that's why the athletes welfare is our priority," Rijiju told ANI.
When asked whether BCCI communicated for the vaccination, the minister said, "We are talking about all the sports and all the players but Olympic players will remain our priority because that's time-bound communication we have with every sports federation I can not just talk about one federation. Every federation is part of the fraternity and we are concerned about all the players. We have to abide by all the methodology being adopted by the health ministry."