Aimed at boosting India’s performance in future Olympic Games, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that a Task Force would be set up to prepare a comprehensive action plan for “effective participation” of Indian sports-persons in the next three Olympic Games, 2020, 2024 and 2028.
The PMO has asked the Sports Ministry to submit a detailed report on India’s disappointing performance at the Rio Games. The Task Force will be set up in the next few days and will prepare an overall strategy for the sports facilities, training, selection procedure and other related matters.
“The Task Force will be set up to prepare a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sports-persons in the next three Olympic Games,” a PMO statement said.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) constituted a four-member committee with Abhinav Bindra as its chairman to examine in a “cold and ruthless manner” the reasons behind India’s debacle.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has also decided to take stock of their flop show.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has suggested that it will focus on young wrestlers for the Tokyo Olympics.
Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Injetti Srinivas underlined the need for a “long-term” view, which is what the Task Force will aim to do. “There is no hiding the Rio disappointment, but the fact is we are totally relying on handful of athletes for medals,” said Srinivas. “That’s not going to help you. You need to have proper bench strength.”
“We sportsmen generally complain that our system isn’t good, or that there are inherent problems. If the Prime Minister takes interest in getting results, we can expect things to get better. This is a good start, since problems in the system will be addressed,” said boxer Akhil Kumar.
“Sounds like a great initiative, but following through is vital. If we expect medals in table tennis, we need to target the 2028 Olympics. That’s how long it’ll realistically take for this idea to work. But work must begin now for us to unearth and prepare talent for bigger deeds,” said table tennis player A Sharath Kamal, who has taken part in three Olympics, including Rio.
“It’s heartening to know that the PM has our best interests in mind. Us archers have been supported well for the past year, but such an initiative is the need of the hour. Too many times we get last-minute aid, with failure appalling everybody. It can’t be an afterthought, but a methodology,” noted archer Atanu Das, who lost in the round of 16 in Rio.
Hockey Olympian Adam Sinclair felt the new initiative might change this. “It’s a good initiative from Modiji to sort of get the ball rolling.For us to really become a sporting nation, our culture has to change.”