NEW DELHI: The eight-member Olympic Task Force (OTF) constituted to recommend the roadmap for improving India’s performance in the next three Olympics on Friday submitted its final report to the government.
Members of the OTF, including national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha, met with Union Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas and handed over the extensive document, which is divided into three parts: key takeaways, an executive summary and the main report.
Since it was set up and announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just days after the end of last year’s Rio Olympics, where India – despite sending to Brazil its largest contingent ever – won just two medals, the OTF has held many meetings across the country with the goal of better preparing the country’s representation in the next three Olympics in 2020, 2024 and 2028. These included meetings with leading Indian sportspersons and hearing them on various issues that concern them and their respective sports, such as coaches, facilities and talent hunt, among others, as well as with foreign professionals and organisations in the world of top-notch sports.
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Apart from laying out its vision and objectives, the report – which focuses on three fold formula of being athlete-centric, coach-led and system-driven – makes recommendations about the vexed governance structure in Indian sport, and addresses in details issues such as sport science and culture of sports, among many others. The OTF report is believed to have elaborated on all issues listed in its Tokyo 2020 interim report submitted on May 23.
Primary among these were the recommended formation of an ‘Empowered Steering Committee’ for the Tokyo Olympics, the removal of salary caps for Indian coaches, the introduction of a ‘Pradhan Mantri Gold Card’ for elite athletes and coaches whereby they can gain access to emergency quotas in air, rail and bus ticket, and a 24-hour National Anti-Doping Agency helpline to assist athletes on what supplements are legal to use.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) tweeted the development on Friday, saying: OTF met Union Sports Secretary Sh Injeti Srinivas, IAS today and submitted its final report to the Government in preparation of 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, keeping in mind the athlete-centric, coach-led and system-driven as it lays the foundation of the long-term development thats needed for India to win beyond Tokyo.”
Olympic Task Force (OTF) met Union #Sports Secretary, Sh. Injeti Srinivas, IAS today and submitted it’s final repor… https://t.co/OqBMZsXyXE
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI)
as it lays the foundation of the Long-Term Athlete Development that is needed for #India to win beyond #Tokyo. #Tokyo2020 #SAI 3/3 🇮🇳
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI)
In the intervening period between its second and third meetings, the OTF members also conducted a workshop in Ahmedabad, where various stakeholders came and shared their suggestions on the way forward. At the same time, another group met the coaches and Project Officers of SAI, to understand their issues and how to help coaches to produce champions.
The task force also organised a workshops and town-hall type meetings in different parts of the country to give the common man and sports lovers a chance to interact and give their suggestions for the improvement of the standard of sports in India. Additionally, the OTF actively sought inputs from the sports fans through social media and email.
Apart from Gopichand and Rasquinha, the other six members of the task force are India’s lone individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, 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 Digital chief editor Rajesh Kalra and Sports Authority of Gujarat director general Sandeep Pradhan.
Last week, Pradhan was appointed deputy director general of SAI.
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