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India will form a task force to prepare for the next three Olympics

New Delhi: India will form a task force to prepare for the next three Olympics after India’s disappointing medal tally at Rio, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday.

The special team of experts will chalk out a broad strategy to ensure effective participation of athletes in the 2020, 2024 and 2028 Games, while aiming to improve their sports facilities and training as well as their selection process.

A string of below-par performances saw India win just two medals at the recent Games, fewer than the six clinched during their best-ever performance in London four years earlier.

“The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced at the meeting of the Council of Minister’s today that (a) Task Force will be set up to prepare a comprehensive action plan for…the next three Olympic games,” a government statement released late Friday said.

The task force will be set up over the next few days, it added.

India, a country obsessed with cricket, has never finished high on the medal table – winning just 28 from 24 Olympic appearances.

Badminton champion PV Sindhu clinched silver at the Rio Games and wrestler Sakshi Malik won bronze, sparking an outpouring of national pride and celebrations in India.

But it was far below the sports ministry’s target of 10 medals in Rio, where it had sent its largest ever squad.

Indian athletes often complain of substandard training facilities and a lack of government investment in sport in the country of 1.25 billion.

The government said it had spent about 1.2 billion rupees ($18 million) preparing the athletes for Rio — a fraction of the amount forked out by China, Britain and other countries.

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