New Delhi: Government think tank Niti Aayog on Wednesday released a plan chalking out short- and medium-terms goals to revitalize sports. The 20-point action plan highlights key areas that require improvement to ensure 50 medals in the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The action plan identifies 12 short-term measures that need to be undertaken over the next 4-8 years. These include targeting a group of priority sports, harnessing the potential of indigenous and regional sports, introduction of sports injury insurance scheme, strengthening and scaling-up of existing sports training centres and facilitating creation of more sports academies along with a digital sports library.
A Niti Aayog official requesting anonymity said it had suggested organizing sportspersons into three categories for each priority sport. These would be Group A, consisting of athletes who have been in the top 50 at the Olympics and/or other international level sports events; Group B – young sportspersons ranked 51–150 at the Olympics, and/or other international level sports events and Group C – national, state and district level championship performers, those who demonstrate the capacity to achieve a medal result at the World or Olympics level (youth or regular).
The report also calls for world-class coaches who can foster fundamental skills required for the development of any sportsperson; these coaches should be graded with regular performance reviews.
The medium to long term goals suggested by Niti Aayog for the next 8-15 years are concurrent focus on sports in schools; dedicated training programmes for coaches, encourage development of sports infrastructure through private or public-private partnership mode and consistent funding contracts.
The report has come after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August decided to set up a task force to prepare a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympic Games – 2020, 2024, 2028. The decision was taken after India’s dismal performance at Rio Olympics where the country won only two medals –a silver and a bronze- despite sending its biggest contingent.