Ministry asks SAI to ensure athletes get food supplements

The direction came after Sports Minister Sarbanada Sonowal’s surprise visit at the NIS, Patialia. Upon learning that athletes have not been provided food supplements, the minister gave SAI two days to get the job done.

Sports Minister Sonowal has directed that an indoor track at the Institute be laid at the earliest to provide better training facilities to junior campers, who are preparing for 2020 Tokyo Games. (File photo)   -  Akhilesh Kumar

The Sports Ministry has directed the Sports Authority of India to get in touch with Athletics Federation of India so that the track and field athletes at the NIS Patiala receive the required dope-free supplements.

The direction came after Sports Minister Sarbanada Sonowal’s surprise visit at the centre. He heard the grievances of the senior as well as junior athletes at the NIS, some preparing for Rio Olympics, apart from having first hand knowledge of the facilities being provided to the campers.

Upon learning that athletes have not been provided food supplements, the minister gave SAI two days to get the job done.

AFI officials said there were some issues regarding the purchase of the supplements but they have now got the stock and it will be distributed to the athletes from tomorrow.

“The issue arose after the SAI for the first time had stopped giving the food supplements to the athletes and told us to do the job from now onwards. We were told this last month. It is not easy for us to begin the job and so took time,” a top AFI official said.

“But we have completed purchase of the supplements and we will start distributing from tomorrow,” he added.

It may be mentioned that close to 40 athletes have already left for Poland for training and a few athletes such as shot putter Manjeet Kaur, who has qualified for Rio Games, are training at NIS.

“During his day-long visit, the minister went to the hostels, training arenas, mess, recovery centre and various departments of sports sciences to have a first hand knowledge of the facilities being provided to the campers. He interacted with the campers, coaches and sports scientists to receive their feedback on the facilities being provided and further improvement, if needed,” a press release stated.

The Minister also directed that an indoor track at the Institute be laid at the earliest to provide better training facilities to junior campers, who are preparing for 2020 Tokyo Games.

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