New Delhi: Nine sporting disciplines -- including athletics, hockey and shooting -- were today upgraded to the newly-introduced 'high priority' category in the latest classification undertaken by the Sports Ministry which will ensure central funding for their national and zonal events.
Athletics, badminton, hockey, shooting, tennis, weightlifting, wrestling, archery and boxing have been put in the high priority list by the Ministry.
As per the categorisation, all national and zonal Championships of these sports will be funded by the Ministry.
"All mandatory, ranking and qualifying tournaments for disciplines in which India secured 6th place in the individual events and 8th place in the team events in the previous edition are also to be funded. Funding for the remaining events/tournaments shall be decided by a Committee headed by Secretary (Sports)," the Sports Ministry said in a statement.
"This categorisation shall come into force with immediate effect." The categorisation of sports disciplines is reviewed after each Olympic Games and the Asian Games with respect to their performance in these events.
The last such review was done in April 2008. Now that the Olympics 2012 and the Asian Games 2014 are over, a review was undertaken by the Ministry in order to make them eligible for assistance based on their performance.
"The matter has been deliberated at length with various stakeholders before the categorisation was finalised," the Ministry stated.
The guidelines for assistance to National Sports Federations were formulated in 2001 with a view to providing financial assistance to the NSFs, recognised by the Ministry. "Though, certain financial and physical ceilings under the Scheme of Assistance to NSFs were revised in June 2011, a lot of developments/changes have taken place subsequently and the entire sports eco-system has changed with corporate houses spending/sponsoring funds for various activities such as holding international tournaments, training of top athletes, organising prize money events etc."
"...It has also been felt that the National Sports Federations (NSFs) should not exclusively look at the Government for funding of their entire activities. The NSFs are required to tap other sources of funds to finance their operations and financial support from the Government should only be supplemental in nature," the Ministry added.
Keeping in view these factors and to utilise the budget under the Scheme of Assistance to NSFs, the Ministry introduced the new category under which the sports disciplines in which medals were won in Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships have been incentivised.
Under the revised classification, gymnastics has been upgraded to 'priority', which has sports such as football, chess, golf and swimming among others.