Olympics-Think tank targets 50 medals for India in 2024 Olympics

Sept 23 (Reuters) - After a disappointing performance at the Rio Olympics an Indian government think tank has come up with a strategy to help the country achieve 50 medals at the 2024 Games.

India sent more than 120 athletes to Rio de Janeiro with hopes of exceeding the six medals won at London in 2012, but returned with a silver in badminton and a wrestling bronze.

The National Institution for Transforming India Aayog (NITI), however, has orchestrated a plan to help increase that tally, which in the short-term includes prioritising 10 sports with a high winning potential.

The plan also called for a strategy to spot talent from tribal and rural areas that had under-developed sporting infrastructure.

"Efforts need to be undertaken at each level, from family and communities to schools, regional academies, states and national level," the report titled 'Let's Play' said.

"These efforts need to be aimed at radically increasing the level of sporting activities, filling the gaps in the system and monitoring for lags."

It also recommended the need for extensive marketing strategies, and suggested drawing experience from cricket's Indian Premier League (IPL) to attract investment and increase viewership.

The medium to long term recommendations include developing a school curriculum inclusive of both sports and academics and the need to encourage children to focus on a specialised sport.

The plan, which is open for public consultation, also advocated for the recruitment of world class coaches and trainers and improving sports infrastructure through public-private partnerships. (Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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