New Delhi: India’s lone Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra and national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on Monday found a place in an eight-member Task Force of the Sports Ministry to draw up an action plan for the next three Olympic Games.
Just days after the end of the Rio Olympics, where India won just two medals, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the setting up of a task force which will help plan for the “effective participation” of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympics — in 2020, 2024 and 2028.
Bindra, Gopichand and former Indian hockey captain Viren Rasquinha were the only three former sportspersons named in the task force.
The other five members of the task force are School Sports Promotion Board head Om Pathak, hockey coach S Baldev Singh, who runs an academy in Shahabad, G.L. Khanna (Professor and Dean of Exercise and Physiology at Manav Rachna International University at Faridabad), journalist Rajesh Kalra and Sports Authority of Gujarat Director General Sandeep Pradhan.
Announcing the task force here, Sports Minister Vijay Goel told reporters that “the tenure of the committee will be for three months or till the time it submits its report”.
He said the job of the chairman of the committee will be given on rotational basis while Pradhan will be the convener.
The main job of the task force will be to suggest a comprehensive action plan including short-term, medium-term and long-term measures for effective participation of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympic Games.
Other points included in the terms of reference were to suggest effective methods to identify core probable/medal prospects for 2020 Olympics, their coaches and support staff; to suggest effective talent identification system for 2024 and 2028 Olympics; to identify components of world class support system for elite sportspersons and ways to significantly improve standards of coaching; to suggest ways to create and upgrade sports infrastructure necessary to train top-level athletes and to make suggestion regarding foreign training and exposure of top-level athletes.
Asked to whom the task force will submit its report, Goel said, “The report will be submitted to Sports Ministry. But since the Prime Minister has approved the committee, the final report will be submitted to the PMO.”
Asked why there were no representatives from some Olympic medal-winning sports, he said, “This task force is not a representative body where people of several disciplines will be there. This task force is open for all, whoever wants to give ideas, he can give.
“If I start including people discipline-wise, so many names will come up and there will be no end. This committee can call any expert, Indian or foreigner, coaches or former sportspersons in various fields. Anybody can give suggestions to this task force and moreover anybody can come and give the suggestion directly to the Sports Minister.”