Fund-starved SAI unable to release money for Olympics training: Report

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The Sports Authority of India is struggling to release the funds required to be spent on athletes’ training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Government of India’s apex administrative body for sports has reportedly set an SoS to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to urgently sanction the allocated funds.

The paper has reported that SAI Director General Neelam Kapur has written to sports secretary Rahul Bhatnagar with a specific request to release funds to SAI.

The SAI is still waiting to get ₹ 174 crore out of its allocation from the Ministry, national daily Times of India has reported citing sources. The timely availability of the money meant for the athletes training in the qualification year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is crucial for the national sports federations. The year preceding the Olympic Games is the most important for the athletes as they prepare for and participate in the qualifying events for the Games.

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The SAI had reportedly received only ₹ 166 crore from the Ministry of Sports out its demand for ₹340 crore under the National Sports Federations scheme for 2018-19. It has thus again approached the Ministry for the release if the remaining ₹174 crore at the earliest to meet the current liabilities and pending proposals of the NSFs.

The funds form part of the Annual Calendar for Training and Competitions’ (ACTC) proposals under the ‘Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations’. The money is allocated to the national sports federations for athletes’ training and equipment needs, participation in international tournaments and exposure trips abroad.

People concerned have raised fears that the lack of funds can hit Indian athletes training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. There can be other accounting and audit concerns as well as the sports’ bodies are compelled to fund the training from their other budgetary allocations.

The SAI has reportedly demanded an estimated ₹415 crore for the 2019-20 financial year to fund preparations for Tokyo Games.

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