Steering Committee to be set up to oversee Olympic preparations

The 13-member Empowered Steering Committee will include representatives from the ministry, national sports federations and the Indian Olympic Association, former athletes and sports scientists.

The Empowered Steering Committee will recommend and review India's preparations for all major events including the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the Olympics.   -  PTI

Acting on the recommendations of the Olympic Task Force on preparations for Olympics 2020-2028, the sports ministry on Friday announced the setting up of an Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) to look into the same. The task force had submitted its interim report focussing on short-term preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Games on May 22.

The 13-member ESC will include representatives from the ministry, national sports federations and the Indian Olympic Association, former athletes and sports scientists. The ESC will have the authority to co-opt external experts, on a need basis, two at a time. The ESC's tenure will be till December 31, 2020. However, there has been no time-frame provided for the constitution of the ESC itself.

With international sports becoming more and more mental and scientific, the ministry's emphasis has also been on improving the use of sports sciences with three sports scientists – one each from biomechanics, sports nutrition and sports psychology – being empanelled in the ESC.

Wide-ranging powers

The athlete representatives, to be selected from among High Priority Sports, would have to have retired from active sports in the last 10 years to retain modern relevance. An elite coach from the existing lot in High Priority Sports would also be present. A separate search committee would be formed to select a high performance director and a CEO.

The ESC has been given wide-ranging powers to recommend and review India's preparations for all major events including the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the Olympics. While the final deciding authority would remain the government, the ESC would be responsible for reviewing the core probables of each High Priority and Priority sport and suggest additions or deletions, if any; reviewing the approved annual calendar of NSFs and recommend changes if required; recommending specific plans or packages for TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) beneficiaries and recommending national or international training institutions for providing training, coaching and other support to TOPS athletes.

The ESC would also be recommending a panel of companies for carrying out athlete monitoring and data analytics; preparing quality specifications for national camps of different sports and monitoring the camps; ensuring audit of all SAI Regional Centres for holding national camps; preparing sports-specific strategies, including for para-sports, to improve performance and developing Key Result Areas for High Priority sports.

Interestingly, the task force had also submitted its final report on August 12 but the ministry, for now, is concentrating on the short-term target only. Also, several responsibilities mentioned for the ESC are currently overseen by SAI and whether the ESC would have a final say needs to be seen.