"An additional grant of Rs.450 crore was made by our prime minister to encourage sports, which were unheard of in the past and this initiative was taken, for the first time," Sonowal said in his address to Incheon Asian Games medallists, who met Modi Tuesday morning.
Sonowal said that Indian contingent's performance at the 17th Asiad, where they bagged 57 medals (11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze) was below the ministry's expectations and the country must strive hard to better its performance in upcoming events.
"In the recently concluded Asian Games, we finished in eighth position with 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze medals. This, I must confess, is below our expectation. This only shows that the competition in the international arena is getting tougher and tougher day-by-day," he said.
"If we have to retain the top positions, we will have to work harder, faster and stronger. Without being complacent, we need to put in our extra efforts and cross that extra mile to achieve excellence in sports," he said.
Sonowal made a special mention of Sardar Singh-led hockey team, which won gold after a gap of 16 years, beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final.
"A special word of praise is for the Indian Hockey Team which won the gold medal beating Pakistan in a nerve racking final," said the minister.