Olympics beyond Tokyo: SAI to set up 20 National Centres of Excellence

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With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics still almost a year away, Sports Authority of India has started working for excellence in the subsequent editions in Paris an Los Angeles.

In a first for Indian sports, the Ministry of Sports has decided to create 20 National Centres of Excellence (NCE) with top-of-the-line coaches to train athletes in the developmental group keeping 2024 Paris and 2028 Los Angeles Olympics in mind.

The National Centres of Excellence will have the distinction of having a single scheme running in across the board for elite athletes and end differentiation in training and other facilities between athletes within the same campus.

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Each NCE will be earmarked for four to six specific sports.

This will be a major deviation from the earlier set-up of having various schemes running in the same SAI regional centres, leading to separate training, diet and kitting to athletes. The new plan will ensure similar facilities to the athletes in the athletes in the same premises.

The decision follows shortly after the announcement of equal diet budget for the athletes irrespective of the level of their training.

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While the National Centre of Excellence will be reserved for athletes training for Olympics, grassroots level athletes will be trained at other SAI facilities and will be elevated to the NCEs based upon their performances and possibility of an Olympic medal.

The two-tier training system will ensure that at both levels athletes get focused training.

The 20 SAI facilities that have been identified as National Centre of Excellence include, SAI centres in Patiala, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandigarh, Sonepat, Lucknow, Guwahati, Imphal, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Gandhinagar, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi, Indira Gandhi Stadium, Delhi, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi, Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, Delhi, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookherjee Swimming Pool Complex, Delhi, National Water Sports Academy (Khelo India), Alleppey, National Boxing Academy (Khelo India), Rohtak, National Wrestling Academy (Khelo India) and Aurangabad.

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“Standardising the training on a campus will enable athletes to attain much higher performances in their respective sport,” said Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

“When athletes of the same level train at a centre and the facilities are made exclusively available to them, they will train better and that will reflect in their performance. We are working in close co-ordination with NSFs to ensure a smooth transition of our existing facilities into National Centre of Excellence and to identify more centres.” PTI KHS

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