The Olympic Task Force, set up by the Sports Ministry, on Monday recommended formation of an ‘Empowered Steering Committee’ for the 2020 Tokyo Games along with removal of salary cap for the Indian coaches.
The Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) along with High Performance Director (HPD) will work cohesively to create an atmosphere which brings out the best from the potential medal hopefuls going into Tokyo 2020.
According to PTI news report, Among eight recommendations is the introduction of ‘Pradhan Mantri Gold Card’ for elite athletes and coaches giving them access to emergency quota in air/rail/bus tickets.
The Eight recommendations are as follows:
1. The task force made a point strongly that all recommendations should apply to Para athletes as well. Towards that, the report itself has been titled “Preparation of 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
2. Set up an Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) to drive all initiatives. This body will be solely responsible for ensuring proper preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This body should also have full financial autonomy.
3. An internationally acclaimed High Performance Director (HPD) be appointed to work with the Empowered Steering Committee.
4. Removing cap on salary for Indian coaches and support staff. Former athletes should be encouraged to return to coaching/support staff/technical field through deputation from various organisations. While this happens, they should retain their seniority in their respective organisations.
5. Pradhan Mantri Gold Card should be issued to the elite potential athlete & their coaches as an identity of being a ‘National asset’. This card will also provide facilities for emergency quota for air/train/bus tickets and hassle free access at various places.
6. A special cell within ESC should be established to take care of all the logistical issues for athletes, so they can concentrate on training alone.
7. Sports Science to be accorded top priority. It must play a key role in assisting HPD. Coaches to deliver results. It will ensure all sportspersons have access to the latest in the world, be it medicine, nutrition advise, anti-doping, etc. Athletes should also have access to a 24×7 NADA helpline where they can seek advice on any doubt.
8. Primacy of Athletes and Coaches to be maintained at all times. ESC and HPD to work towards creating an environment that allows them to deliver. Would include infrastructure, equipment, training camps and all else.
A 24×7 NADA helpline would help the athletes get a clarity on the kind of supplements they can use.
The eight-member task force, including lone Olympic individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand met sports minister Vijay Goel on Monday.
“We put up a few pointers during our meeting and the main recommendation was to set up an empowered steering committee to take charge of the next Olympics,” Pullela Gopichand, member of the Task Force told PTI.
“We have been meeting at regular intervals. And, besides 2020, of course the discussions are also being held for 2024 and 2028.
“We debated several issues and brought to the table ideas that can eventually be implemented to bring in greater synergy among all the stakeholders and supplement the efforts being made by different segments,” Gopichand added.
Besides, the three sportspersons, the other five members of the task force are School Sports Promotion Board head Om Pathak, hockey coach S Baldev Singh, who runs an academy in Shahabad, GL Khanna (Professor and Dean of Exercise and Physiology at Manav Rachna International University at Faridabad), Times Group Online chief editor Rajesh Kalra and Sports Authority of Gujarat Director General Sandeep Pradhan.
“Pradhan, Om Pathak and Baldev Singh will be in charge for 2024 and 2028 Olympics. Rajesh Kalra and GL Khanna will be helping both the sub-committees. But our first priority is 2020,” former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha, who has also been named as the spokesperson of the committee, had said on February 3, when the task force has met for the first time.
“Me, Abhinav (Bindra) and Gopi will help the other committee once we finish our immediate job of preparing a plan for 2020 Olympics,” he had said.