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Shocked by Athletes' Suicide, SAI to Now Bring Psychologists Onboard

Currently, only the regional centres - in Bangalore, Kolkata, Gandhinagar and Patiala - have the provision for psychologists.

Published: 09th May 2015 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th May 2015 12:56 AM   |  A+A-

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala

KOCHI: A day after a 16-year old female rower died, allegedly after entering a suicide pact with three other girls, at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Alappuzha, the organisation said it would work to provide access to psychologists in all its training facilities.

Speaking to Express after visiting the Alappuzha facility on Friday, SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas said making psychological services available to its trainees was an important recommendation they would be submitting to the Sports Ministry.  “We need to put in place an institutionalised system to provide psychological care to the trainees,” Srinivas said.

Psychologists and counsellors would visit SAI centres at regular intervals as part of the plan. “Whether it is every week, fortnight or every month is to be decided. This is something which we have recognised as necessary, and one of the main recommendations that we are making towards streamlining a holistic approach for the well-being of trainees,” he said.

Currently, only the regional centres - in Bangalore, Kolkata, Gandhinagar and Patiala - have the provision for psychologists. Trainees in sub-centres and extension centres spread across the country do not have access to psychologists, an aspect considered vital in modern sports training.

Srinivas, who has been asked by the Sports Ministry to look into the various issues plaguing SAI centres to redefine their functioning, also stressed on the need to have full-time officials with competent skills to manage training centres.

“We need to have full-time administrators at the level of assistant directors as ‘in-charges’ at the centres of Sports Authority of India. We can’t have people who don’t have the necessary competence to manage the entire affairs of a centre. The coach or a warden cannot be expected to handle everything,” the SAI DG said.

The option of making yoga a part of the daily routine of the trainees is also being explored.

“The trainees and staff are in a state of shock. We need to take care of them as well,” Srinivas said.

The SAI Director General, who would be leaving for Delhi on Saturday, said these measures would be implemented once the Union Ministry clears the recommendations.

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