Task force roots for pro setup to groom medallists

The task force, set up by the Sports Ministry to come up with an action plan for the next three Olympic Games, has given its recommendations.

Published: 23rd May 2017 05:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2017 12:23 PM   |  A+A-

Sports Minister Vijay Goel (File | AFP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The task force, set up by the Sports Ministry to come up with an action plan for the next three Olympic Games, has given its recommendations. The body has promised to revolutionise how sports is run in India.

One of the main recommendations the committee gave when they met Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Monday, was the setting up of an Empowered Steering Committee to oversee all Olympic preparations for the 2020 event in Tokyo. The committee will prioritise sports with better chances of winning medals. Similar setups have been adopted by many Western countries, including Great Britain, who put up a vastly improved show at Rio.

“The committee will have a CEO and a high performance director. These positions will be filled after advertising internationally, and we will select candidates with a proven track record. The committee will have a budget and will be given financial autonomy,” said Viren Rasquinha, one of the committee members. The Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Youth Olympics will also come within the purview of this body.

Another recommendation asks that salary caps, that domestic coaches are subject to, be dropped. Currently there is a cap of `1.5 lakh for a chief coach and Rs 75,000 for other coaches. “Coaches’ development has been a big issue that we’ve looked at,” Pulella Gopichand, another committee member, told Express. “There are a number of ex-players who are doing jobs other than coaching. We will give them incentives to enter coaching.

“Though recommendations are for 2020, they lay seeds of the long-term approach to be adopted,” Gopichand added. “Long-term athlete development, for example, is critical and we have tried to get there by taking an approach that is athlete-centric, coach-led and system-driven.”
Among the other recommendations put forward by the committee are the issuing of Pradhan Mantri Gold Card to elite potential athletes and their coaches, the setting up of a special cell to take care of logistics so that athletes can focus just on training and a 24x7 NADA helpline where athletes can clear their doubts. Emphasis has also been put on sports science. All recommendations are valid for para athletes as well. These are just preliminary recommendations put forward by the committee and work on a final report is still in progress.

Apart from Rasquinha and Gopichand,  the other members of the task force are Olympic gold-winning shooter Abhinav Bindra, hockey coach Baldev Singh, sports scientist GL Khanna, journalist Rajesh Kalra, educationist Om Pathak and DG of Sports Authority of Gujarat Sandip Pradhan. The task force was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just days after the end of the Rio Olympics.


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