With an aim to achieve excellence in sports, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided to collaborate with some identified universities across the country to improve the standards of training.
For this purpose, each Regional Director of SAI will identify one or two universities with good sports infrastructure and sporting traditions.
This decision was taken at a meeting of Heads of SAI Regional Centres, Academic Institutions, SAI Training Centres (STCs) and Special Area Games (SAG) Centres held in New Delhi today.
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The meeting was chaired by Sports Minister Vijay Goel, and was attended by Secretary (Sports) Rajiv Yadav, Director General of SAI Injeti Srinivas, and senior officers from the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and SAI.
Several universities across the country have excellent sports infrastructure, which is not being optimally utilised, and thus such a collaboration is proposed. In fact, in big sporting nations like the USA, the international athletes mostly come from their universities.
At the meeting, ways were discussed to improve the effectiveness of sports promotion schemes of SAI and providing the best facilities to the SAI trainees. It was also decided to closely monitor the performance of SAI coaches, take steps to constantly upgrade their skills and to incentivise them.
Every SAI Centre has been asked to select sports disciplines for focused attention, keeping in view factors like infrastructure and local traditions.
The issue of identification of talent by SAI was also discussed at length. It was decided that SAI would pro-actively hunt for talent by sending its teams to interior areas of the country. Sports science experts will also be part of such teams. SAI will also collaborate with Defence forces to ensure that talented children get selected for nurturing in the SAI Centres.
In his remarks at the meeting, Goel emphasised on the need for SAI Centres to closely work with the State Governments and involve local representatives of people so that concerted and coordinated efforts can be made for achieving sporting excellence. He also stressed on the need for seeking contribution of the corporate sector to upgrade facilities at the SAI Centres.
The Minister called for initiating steps to utilise every nook and corner of SAI complexes. He suggested that SAI facilities should be opened to public without disturbing their normal activities of training.
This was after a gap of several years that a Union Sports Minister took a meeting of field functionaries of SAI to understand the problems being faced at the grassroots level and take steps for improvement in future.