SAI dreams big for Tokyo Olympics

A team from Sports Authority of India would visit Japan in August to study the feasibility of Indian athletes training there before the Olympics in 2020.

Ready to be known as ‘Sports India’, leaving the authority part to the Union Sports Ministry, SAI is waiting for the Asian Games to get over before launching a full-fledged preparation for the Tokyo Games.

According to its Director General Neelam Kapur, SAI will strive to become more professional, catering to sports in the larger perspective, both to elite athletes and to open its centres to sports enthusiasts.

Addressing the media at the SAI headquarters here on Thursday, Kapur said that there would be high performance managers and athletes relationship managers to address the needs of elite athletes, and to make the overall efforts much more focused.

The SAI DG also announced that the salaries of coaches had been doubled along with that of other support staff, operating in the SAI academies, to attract better talent in the field. The idea is to make the Indian coaches top class experts, so that Indian athletes are less dependent on foreign coaches.

To this effect, Kapur said, “We are ready to open a series of academies at various centres, taking care of the needs of the young athletes, including their education.”

The SAI was also looking at public-private partnership to run professional centres to provide best food, hygiene, infrastructure etc. There is tremendous potential as SAI has ‘the best real estate for sports in the country’.

The sports library at the Nehru Stadium would be modernised and will be accessible to everyone.

The SAI DG 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.

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