Sports and sports administration in India is all set for a massive facelift. The main focus will be on encouraging sportspersons and look into their interests and cater to their needs. Leading from the front and driving the force is sportsman turned politician, Union Sports Minister, Colonel Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Meanwhile, at the 50th General Body meeting of Sports Authority of India, a number of key decisions have been given a go ahead.
Republic TV has spoken exclusively to Colonel Rajyavardhan Rathore about the key decisions that were made during the General Body meeting.
Established in 1984, Sports Authority of India is now being renamed. The announcement was made by the Union Sports Minister on Wednesday. It's not a name changing exercise he stressed, “There are many who will read beyond headlines and focus on the work that gets put in to address even the most minute of concerns for our sportsmen. Why should any officer even flaunt 'authority' which he or she doesn't have? It's their job as officers to serve the athletes and serving sports. Let's create a better environment whether as SAI or IOA or even as federations. Therefore it is Sports India. Let's become sporting not just on the field but also in our attitude. This is all about bringing about that vital change. Thus we have wiped out Authority off Sports Authority of India which is now called Sports India.”
Highlighting the need for investing in Sports Science which actually holds the key to good athletes the 2004 Athen Olympics silver medalist says, “They have to be provided with the best staff. The days of discrimination between Indian and foreign coaches are over. There cannot be a payment cap for Indian coaches where foreigners are making so much. We have decided that across the board all the salaries will be doubled. These are special skillsets like physios, masseurs who cannot be substandard. Also DG, SI will have the authority to increase the salaries by another 50 percent on the case to case basis.”
Diet requirement for athletes is another key focus issue. Rathore says, “How can there be only Rs 225 for a 14-yr old and for an 18-yr old Rs 600 given for a day. Young athletes need a good quality diet as much as the grown-ups. So now across the board across all National Sports Academies, it will be Rs. 450/- per athlete. Not just that within another two months a committee that has been asked to set up will review and see if any changes are needed to be made to this. It has to be the best. Also, it cannot be any random person who can be given the catering contract. We have decided that the caterer of repute with some decent track record can be contracted to prepare food. Eventually, we are responsible for their growth.
Stadia and facilities not only with its building but also its maintenance is an important aspect. While public money is spent on this by the government here is what needs to be done says the Union Min. “We cannot build infrastructure that gives up in say one or two years. There are specific companies that have expertise in building sports facilities. Sports Architects will be empaneled and a tender will then be floated so that we know who we're getting and how.”
Educating a sportsperson and helping use of technology to keep them up to speed with the world helps athletes a great deal. With a number of key analysis tools, the renewed and sleek SI would certainly help.
“Education is a key to success without a doubt. But education is now beyond books. We would like to set up a state of the art E-Library that would give our kids access to the best content across the globe. Best practices, best technical skill would allow sharing of a lot of knowledge. Videos of athletes or even opponents are extremely important for training purposes. Our idea is to make the E-Library accessible to athletes and even school children on their phones.
“Menace of doping and its consequences both in terms of penalising and even educating is also an aspect that we are putting our focus on,“ Col said when asked about educating athletes falling prey.”
Finally, as the Prime Minister has often said Khelo India is not just a move forward in word or government push but it aims at taking the sport to each household. Rathore, who as a double trap shooter between 2002 to 2006 bagged as many as 25 medals in various championship says, “Sports has to be made easier. Factors like training, infrastructure, diet and even career prospect are all our responsibility. Each one of us including Ministry. The will to act and bring about a positive change is all that matters.”
Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore took over from Vijay Goel as Sports Minister on 3rd September 2017 and since then been working on various initiatives including throwing open the Fitness Challenge last month that literally went viral with celebs, sportspersons, film stars and even commoners very sportingly took.