Indian athletes may not be allowed to compete under the Tri-colour in the next Olympics but the Union Sports ministry is busy preparing an ambitious plan to get into the list of first 10 sporting nations by Olympics 2020 by winning “at least 5 Gold medals and sustaining this position in 2024 & 2028 and thereafter.”
India was ranked 55th in the London Olympics, down from 50th position in the Beijing Olympics. Other goals include third position in the overall medals tally in the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014 with a higher tally of 125 medals, and overall fifth position in the Incheon Asiad 2014 with a tally of 75 medal. All these are not for nothing.
The Sports Ministry is busy giving final touches to a ‘Concept Note on Long Term Plan for Development of Talent in Olympic Sports’ which will be circulated among stakeholders soon. The concept note has set out an ambitious plan of setting up a District Sports School (DLSS) in every District of the Country. “These Schools will be set up as Public-Private Partnerships, except in remote and disturbed areas, where PPP projects may not be feasible,” says the Concept Note.
The Ministry of Human Resources Development will have all administrative control of these schools as is normal for the Central Schools programme. It also plans to make sports an essential part of the school curriculum and evaluation of the scholar on the basis of his/her proficiency in sports. The Department of Sports would be identifying 10 Olympic sports disciplines in which India has greater potential for excellence and winning medals. The disciplines identified are athletics, wrestling, rowing, sailing, kayaking & canoeing, shooting, weightlifting, judo & taekwondo, boxing, archery, badminton; and field hockey.
Each National Sports Federation associated with these sports will be drawing up long-term development programmes focusing on the Olympic Games of 2020. “They are expected to identify talented sportspersons and draw up a comprehensive training and exposure programme that are individualised for each sportsperson enabling him/her to reach levels of excellence they have never reached in the past,” says the draft note.
The Department of Sports will also set up a specialised institute for sports medicine at New Delhi. Provisions for this has already been kept in the XII Plan. The total expenditure is expected to be around Rs250 Crores but part of this expenditure may spill over to the XIII Plan Period. There is also a plan to set up a specialised institution for training of coaches as part of this larger scheme as currently there is only one institute to train coaches.
The note also talks about the importance of a systematic identification of talented sports persons at a very early age (6-8 years) followed by sustained training and development over a prolonged period to enhance their skills. It also says that the effort has to concentrate mainly on rural areas as the vast majority of sportspersons come from rural backgrounds.
The Concept Note also talks of providing identified sports persons with assured employment opportunities and also career progression opportunities so as to encourage them to continue with sports and to motivate them to high levels of excellence. It also talks at length about a better synergy between private and public sector in enhancing the sports scene in the country.