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PM Modi's Olympic Task Force sets target for 2028 Olympics, appeals for replacement of bureaucrats in SAI 

In an attempt to improve India's stint at the Olympics, Modi's Task Force calls for significant restructuring of the SAI.

News 19 Aug 2017, 15:11 IST

Image courtesy: SAI Media on Twitter

Image courtesy: SAI Media on Twitter

What's the story?

In an attempt to improve India's position and performance of its athletes at the upcoming Olympics, the Olympics Task Force appointed by PM Narendra Modi has put forward an appeal for certain changes to be made in the Sports Authority of India. The Task Force that was appointed by the Prime Minister right after India's failed stint at the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro has appealed for the replacement of bureaucratic government officials with professionals.

"Instead of deputing government officers to SAI, the new SAI would be fully professionalized and only specialists on a contractual basis with clearly defined deliverables, shall be appointed to the board and all functions down the line,” the report states as per the Indian Express.

As per a report in Republic, the key takeaways also mention that the target is to win atleast 20 medals in the 2028 Olympics, while also making changes such as each state adopting a sport and encouraging the participation of women in the sports ecosystem. 

In case you didn't know...

It was after the unsuccessful bout of Indian athletes at the Olympics held in 2016, that measures were taken to make sure that history does not repeat itself. PM Narendra Modi set up a special Olympics Task Force to look into the matter. Renowned Indian sportsmen and women who had earlier made the country proud were unable to deliver their best and were sent home in the early stages of the games.

The heart of the matter

An eight-member committee, including Olympians Pullela Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra and Viren Rasquinha, had submitted a 144-page report to the government. Redefining the structure of the SAI has been one of the biggest changes made, since it has often been criticized for providing facilities that are not up to proper standards, with a shortage of coaches and the poor conditions of the training venues and hostels. They have also been accused of being very bureaucratic.

The Olympic Task Force therefore, has called for a complete upheavel of the structure, stating that the SAI should be responsible only for the training of professional athletes instead of the grassroots, intermediate and elite levels, as it currently does. If long term developments are needed, then the ministry should run the academics of excellence, a report stated.

Besides this, the task force also appealed for complete financial autonomy, where 25 per cent of the SAI's budget should come from internal income and the corporate sector.

What's next?

As stated by the report, a thorough execution of the SAI's restructuring will be undertaken only once this appeal is accepted. Therefore, one has to wait and see if the measures will finally be implemented.

Author's take

Keeping in mind the past performances of our Indian athletes, the changes suggested by the Task Force certainly seem to promise a better future if implemented for the upcoming games.

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