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Olympic Task Force recommends steps to improve sports in India

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The eight-member Olympic Task Force, constituted to plan a roadmap to improve India’s performance in Olympics submitted an extensive final report titled “Preparation of 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games” to the Sports Secretary, Injeti Srinivas on August 11, 2017.
About Olympic Task Force:

  • Olympic 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 Pullela Gopichand, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha, among others.

Key Recommendations of Olympic Task Force:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All recommendations should also apply to Para athletes as well.