Rijiju, Shetty push for drug-free sports culture

States, private companies asked to support promising sportspersons: Minister

 GUWAHATI: Union youth affairs and sports minister, Kiren Rijiju along with actor, Suniel Shetty underlined the need for a clean and drug-free sports culture while urging athletes at the Khelo India Youth Games here to refrain from banned substances.

Rijiju pledged that all athletes would be given provided support as long as they stay away from banned substances.

“The state governments have been told to provide full support to ensure that athletes stay away from banned substances and work hard to become champions.. I would like to tell all coaches and parents that they should ensure that all athletes should refrain from banned drugs,” he said at the SAI regional centre here on Tuesday.

The Union minister said that private companies have been asked to provide economic support and jobs to promising sportspersons. “So it is important that you play freely for the country and persevere while staying disciplined and clean,” Rijiju said.

Fifty-eight-year-old Shetty, who is the brand ambassador of the National Anti-Doping Agency, aptly shared his fitness mantra with the young athletes here while stressing on the importance of sports in one’s life.

“I will turn 60 next year but I have kept myself fit by eating right and training hard. You may make many mistakes in your life but make sure that you don’t eat anything which is wrong. Whatever I have achieved in my life, it is purely because of sport. I used to practice martial arts and train really, really hard. I became an actor in my life only because I was an athlete. I still believe that I am a part of sports,” he said.

Shetty, while cautioning against the dangers of dope, stressed on awareness and information sharing about the right kind of food athletes need to take to stay fit and clean.

“Children should be told about what is wrong and right as they go ahead in training and building stamina and energy. Awareness is key here, and eating right and being informed about the right kind of food is imperative. Young athletes need to be encouraged and be aware of what it takes to represent the country,” he said.

Asked about the Khelo India Youth Games, Shetty said, “It is unbelievable that so many youngsters are getting a chance to feel that they are the stars of tomorrow.”

The Union minister, attired in a tracksuit, and the Bollywood star, also took part in a shootout after a football match to entertain the spectators and also share their message.

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