The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is preparing to drop its "Authority" and become more professional, catering to sports in the larger perspective, both to the elite athletes and to open its centres for the sports enthusiasts.
Addressing the media at the SAI headquarters here on Thursday, the Director General Neelam Kapur said that there would be high performance managers and athletes relationship managers to address the needs of the elite athletes, and to make the overall efforts much more focused.
Ready to be known as "Sports India", leaving the authority to the Union Sports Ministry, the SAI is waiting for the Asian Games to get to grips with the full fledged preparation of the athletes for the Tokyo Olympics.
"A SAI team would visit Japan in August", to study the feasibility of Indian athletes training in Japan before the Olympics in 2020.
The SAI DG also announced that the salaries of the coaches had been doubled along with that of other support staff, operating in the SAI Academies, so as to make it attractive for the professionals. The idea is to make the Indian coaches top class experts, so that the Indian athletes are less dependent on foreign coaches in the long run.
To this effect, SAI is ready to open a series of academies at various centres, taking care of the needs of the young athletes, including their education.
It was announced that the SAI was looking at public-private partnership to run professional centres, so as to ensure good food, hygiene, infrastructure etc. There is tremendous potential as the SAI has "the best real estate for sports in the country".
"We are going to develop our system for sports equipment, infrastructure etc., and will not depend on CPWD," the SAI DG said, suggesting that such a measure would speed up procedures and cut cost.
The Sports Library at the Nehru Stadium would be developed further and it will all be available on electronic format to make things easily accessible for everyone.
It was also clarified that the national federations were party to all the selections done through the Khelo India School Games, and the selected athletes would be sent to various academies, depending on their requirements.