PM Modi to flag off 'Run for Rio' event on July 31

New Delhi:  In order to create 'Olympic Fever' in the country ahead of next month's multi-sporting spectacle in Brazil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off 'Run for Rio' event at India Gate here on July 31, Sports Minister Vijay Goel said today.

"We want to create a fever of Olympics in the country and keeping that in mind, we will be organising a 'Run for Rio' event from India Gate. When I talked to Prime Minister Modi about this idea, he said he will come and flag off this run.

Thousands of people will join the run to give their support to the Olympic athletes," said Goel at the ASSOCHAM conference here. Besides this, giant screens will also be put up at the Central Park here starting August 1, along with an exhibition containing information on Rio-bound Athletes.

"A big screen will be placed below the flag at the central park along with an exhibition in which there will be posters and cutouts of Olympians like Vijender Singh and others. This will create a carnival-type scenario," he said.

Responding to a query on the state of boxing in India, Goel said, "Presently, we don't have a boxing federation in India. Our complete concentration is on Rio-bound boxers. We have formed an ad hoc committee so that no problem arises in their preparations and for sending them to Rio."

Indian boxing has been struggling to put a federation in place since 2012 and only three boxers could qualify for Rio as compared to eight in London in 2012.

The Sports Minister also assured that a female physio will accompany the three women boxers in the Olympics, after questions were raised in this regard.

Sports secretary Rajiv Yadav, who was sitting next to Goel, confirmed that tennis ace Sania Mirza's mother Nasima will also travel to Rio as official along with other players.

"Sania Mirza is a world number one player (in doubles) so her request has been accepted as Nasima ji is also women's team manager," said Yadav.