Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Anurag Singh Thakur approved a slew of new initiatives at the 55th SAI's governing body meeting on Tuesday. This included the restructuring of the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) workforce with a focus on sports science and performance management.
Other new initiatives include out-of-turn promotions for SAI coaches and a partnership with corporate India to strengthen existing facilities for athletes through CSR initiatives. It will also see direct funding and restructuring of SAI workforce and the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
The restructuring aims at strengthening the existing support system for athletes to help them excel at international competitions, especially the Olympics and Paralympics.
Speaking about the changes that the restructuring will bring about, Anurag Thakur said:
"Our emphasis is on sports science and performance management, and with the restructuring, SAI will hire around 300 more scientific staff, including 138 high-performance analysts, 23 high-performance directors, 23 sports medicine doctors, 93 physiotherapists and 104 masseurs. Further posts have been created for 50 High Performance Coaches at the NCOEs for targeted performance at international events, especially the Olympics."
The restructuring will also create positions for strength and conditioning experts, performance analysts, biomechanists, psychologists, video analysts, and psychologists. It will give athletes a holistic training opportunity.
It has also been decided that a number of new departments, including sports development, partnerships, policy and learning, will be inducted into TOPS. It will see a 360 degree approach towards providing personalized support to elite athletes.
In a bid to reduce the financial burden on athletes training in SAI NCOEs, a provision of free two-way travel from NCOEs to their hometowns has been approved twice a year.
SAI players get out-of-turn promotions
The governing body also acknowledged the performance of the athletes at the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. They approved the proposal to give out-of-turn promotions to five SAI coaches, four of them current athletes, as a token of appreciation.
Among those promoted are hockey player Savita Punia, captain Rani Rampal, coach Piyush Dubey. Punia has been promoted from assistant coach to coach. Rampal has been promoted from coach to senior coach. Hockey coach Piyush Dubey has also been promoted from coach to senior coach of the men’s hockey team.
Paralympian high jumper Thangavelu Mariyyapan has been promoted from senior coach to chief coach. Sharad Kumar has been promoted from assistant coach to coach.
The sports ministry will take on more partnership initiatives with the corporate sector and private organizations to build India's sports ecosystem. SAI is already working with private entities like the Glen Mark Foundation and Inspire Institute of Sport to develop specific sports. It has been decided to forge partnerships that can benefit athletes, while also giving corporates a chance to be part of the management of sports facilities.
The Sports Ministry aims to partner with corporates for support in specific sports disciplines at various NCOEs for coaching, sports science, and diet equipment, among others.
The meeting was attended by Minister of State (MoS) Nisith Pramanik and members of the Governing Body including IOA General Secretary Rajeev Mehta, prominent ex-athletes Bhaichug Bhutia, Akhil Kumar, Trupti Murgunde and Kamlesh Mehta, among others. Senior members of the sports ministry and SAI were also present.