New Delhi: University and college sports persons who bring laurels to the country in national and international events will be provided free education till the highest level, the government said.
"Any sports person, who brings laurels to the country, will be given free education up to the highest level," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here following approval of guidelines in this regard.
As per the guidelines, financial assistance will be reimbursed by UGC to the university concerned.
The university concerned will make "special efforts" in terms of completion of syllabus and attendance of the sports person due to loss of class, according to the guidelines.
This step would bring a big relief to sports persons like Unmukt Chand, captain of Indiaâ€™s World cup-winning under-19 cricket team, who had his share of ordeals regarding lack of attendance till the Delhi University Vice Chancellor had stepped in.
The HRD Minister also announced starting a national level university cricket league and university level hockey league to promote sports in a big way in campuses.
The cricket league would be played among eight top universities in T-20 format from among those who qualify through a zonal competition. Similarly, the hockey league will be played among top eight teams selected through zonal competitions.
NDTV is launching this initiative with Association of Indian Universities (AIU).
An organising committee chaired by the HRD Minister has been set up for the purpose comprising representatives of UGC, AIU, NDTV, Vice Chancellors of several universities, NDMC, Hockey India and eminent persons in the sports arena.
NDTV co-chairperson Prannoy Roy said the initiative is aimed at revitalising sports at the university level and promised to make it a "high quality" event.
"We saw gold medallist really start at the university level and we thought recognising sports at universities and fitness is very important...we will make sure it is high quality and encourage university students participate, cheer their teams," he said.
The best eight cricketing teams will play matches at Jamia grounds here. Likewise, the hockey matches will be played here on astro-turf. NDTV will be telecasting the matches.
The Organising Committee, AIU and NDTV entered into an agreement yesterday to crystallise the collaborative effort of organising the UCL and UHL in a professional manner.
On successful organisation of the league in cricket and hockey, the concept may be extended by AIU to other sporting events in the University system, Sibal said.