The Union Minister is keen develop the roster of athletes for future Olympics.

The 53rd Governing Body Meeting of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) was held on Thursday. Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju announced that the most prolific training centres in the country will be notified as Target Olympic Podium Scheme National Centre of Excellence (TOPS NCOE). This is being done to ensure that the athletes attain the quintessential training facilities to prepare for the 2024 ad 2028 Olympic Games.

The national federations of the respective sports will look after the operation and functioning of these centres. The TOPS NCOEs will be equipped with the proficient coaching staff, sports science support and laudable infrastructure facilities. Several eminent personalities such as ex-table tennis player Kamlesh Mehta, boxer Akhil Kumar and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary Rajeev Mehta amongst others attended this meeting.

Kiren Rijiju revealed that talent scouting committees are being developed to recognize talents across different sports. They will be commencing their job in the coming four-five months, depending upon the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the country. Projects worth ₹120 crores to create new sports infrastructure and upgrade the existing ones were approved in the meeting. “The government is committed to providing a sports ecosystem of global standards for athletes. These TOPS NCOEs will have state-of-art infrastructure, best-in-class coaches and support staff as well as modern sports science support,” Rijiju declared in a statement to the New Indian Express.

The performance of sportspersons in different centres will be factored in whilst designating them as TOPS NCEOs. Moreover, both SAI and non-SAI facilities will be considered under the ambit of this initiative. Several coaches are employed in the SAI and a policy has been evolved to promote them based on their accomplishments in numerous national and international events.

The Tokyo Olympics that was supposed to be held in 2020 has been postponed to the next year due to the global pandemic. The Union Minister also evaluated the Indian contingent’s preparations for the same. However, doubts are still being cast over the probability of the mega-event taking place in 2021.

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