Olympic Task Force recommends steps to improve sports in India
The Olympic Task Force has recommended that an Empowered Steering Committee should be established for the Tokyo Olympics and introduction of a 'Pradhan Mantri Gold Card' for elite athletes and coaches.
The eight-member Olympic Task Force (OTF) that submitted its report in the second week of August 2017 has emphasised the need to be "athlete-centric, coach-led and system-driven".
They submitted an extensive report titled as "Preparation of 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games" to the Sports Secretary, Injeti Srinivas. The report focuses on three fold formula of being athletic-centric, coach-led and system driven.
Highlights of the extensive document
• The extensive document is divided into three parts and they are key takeaways, an executive summary and the main report.
• It calls for the establishment of an Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) to drive all initiatives. ESC will be responsible for ensuring proper preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and it should have full financial autonomy. The ESC should be supported by a special cell that will take care of all the logistical issues for athletes, so they can concentrate on training alone.
• It calls for the appointment of an internationally acclaimed High-Performance Director who will be working with the Empowered Steering Committee.
• It calls for a removal of the cap on salary for the Indian coached and support staff.
• It suggests that former athletes should be encouraged to return to respective sports as coaches, and support staff on deputation.
• It asks for issuing Pradhan Mantri Gold Card for the elite potential athlete and their coaches as an identity of being a 'National asset'. It says that this card will provide them with facilities like emergency quota for air/train/bus tickets as well as hassle free access at various places.
• It says that athletes should have an access to a 24x7 National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) helpline, where they can seek advice on any doubt.
• It says that sports science should be accorded top priority as it will ensure that all sportsperson have access to latest in the world, be it medicine, nutrition advises, anti-doping, etc. This Sports Science should play an important role in assisting HPD.
• It suggests that primacy of athletes and coaches should be maintained at all the times. In addition, the ESC and HPD should work towards creating an environment - like infrastructure, equipment, training camps and all else - that allows them to deliver.
• It says that all these recommendations should apply to Para athletes as well.
The information on submission of the report was given by Sports Authority of India (SAI). SAI in its tweet said, “Olympic Task Force (OTF) met Union #Sports Secretary, Sh. Injeti Srinivas, IAS today and submitted its final report to the Government.”
The Task Force was constituted to plan a roadmap to improve India's performance in the next three Olympics in 2020, 2024 and 2028. The task force was set up under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the end of 2-16 Rio Olympics, where India won just two medals despite sending its largest contingent ever.
The task force included national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand, India's lone individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha among others.