India and Australia today started a partnership aimed at increasing cooperation in sports, in the presence of visiting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and batting great Sachin Tendulkar. Also involved in the launch was Sports Minister Vijay Goel.
It will advance India-Australia cooperation in four areas — athlete and coach training and development, sport science, sport governance and integrity, and grassroots participation.
Goel said, “We have a lot to learn and share with Australia in the field of sports. The India-Australia Sports Partnership would facilitate exchange of athletes, coaches, technical officials, sports scientists between the two countries.”
“India has started taking sports as a very important component of public health management as well as education.
We have launched a major grassroots programme — Khelo India for developing a sporting culture at grass-roots level. We are planning to introduce sports as a compulsory subject in schools,” he said.
A National Sports Talent Identification and Development Portal would be launched shortly, he said.
Turnbull said, under the new partnership, Victoria University and the University of Canberra would work with India to assist in the establishment of a National Sports University similar to the Australian Institute of Sport.
Turnbull and Goel met with some young girls from Mumbai’s slums who are being taught to play sports by Apnalaya, an organisation with which Tendulkar’s mother-in-law Annabel Mehta is associated.
Wrapping up his four-day visit, Turnbull said India is now enormously important in the region. “My trip has been all about deepening more engaged collaboration between Australia and India in the fields of economics, sports, health, science and education,” he said.
Turnbull later met Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and left for Australia from Mumbai airport in the afternoon, a state government official said.