Olympic Task Force Report Submitted

The eight-member Olympic Task Force has submitted an extensive report to the government. The Task Force was constituted to plan a roadmap to improve India’s performance in the next three Olympics.

The task force was set up under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the end of last year’s Rio Olympics, where India won just two medals despite sending its largest contingent ever.

The task force includes national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha, among others.

Besides, the three sportspersons, the other five members of the task force are: Om Pathak, hockey coach S Baldev Singh, GL Khanna, Rajesh Kalra and Sports Authority of Gujarat Director General Sandeep Pradhan.

Key Recommendations of Olympic Task Force:

The task force proposed that a National Sports Repository System be created “where everything to do with an athlete is available”, including their performance record, training, funds used, injuries, notes from coaches and notes about coaches. The information could also be linked to Aadhaar.

In the report, the task force focused on a three-fold formula — “athlete-centric, coach-led and system-driven”.

It has been recommended to 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. The Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) should also have full financial autonomy.

An internationally acclaimed High Performance Director (HPD) should be appointed to work with the Empowered Steering Committee.

Pradhan Mantri Gold Cardshould be issued to the elite potential athlete and 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.

Athletes should also have access to a 24×7 National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) helpline where they can seek advice on any doubt.

Sports Science should 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.

The task force urged sports authorities to visit the countryside and make all out attempts to spot talent in various primary schools and nurture them.

The report focused on inculcating physical wellness, ethical and moral values among the budding sportsperson so that they evolve into world-class personalities in the sporting arena.

Overall, the task force addressed issues like upgradation in sports governance, sport science and culture of sports, among many others.

Make five Physical Education, or PE, periods per week mandatory for each child, along with 90 minutes of active play per day for each child.

Make hosting of national games mandatory every two years.

Have 650 district-level sports schools (one in each district) to nurture grassroots talent.

A stipend of Rs 6 lakh per annum for elite potential athletes till 2020 and identified athletes beyond that. State governments should give a scholarship of Rs 1.5 lakh per annum to 1,000 aspiring champions.

According to government guidelines, there is a provision of sports quota recruitment upto 5%. The word “upto” should be removed, meaning there has to be a 5% minimum reservation under the sports quota. The state government should also mandate 3% sports quota recruitment.

All recommendations should also apply to Para athletes as well.