The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, though belatedly, gave its approval to the Rs 678 crore fund required for the preparation of the Indian contingent for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The money would go into the training of around 1,286 elite sportspersons in 18 disciplines for the mega-event.
The main objective of the fund, which will be given for the next three years, is to improve India's competitiveness in international sports and to enhance the medals tally in major international events particularly the Commonwealth Youth Games this year and the Commonwealth Games.
It will also aim to institutionalise a system for preparation of elite sportspersons for prestigious international competitive events, which would among other things, also include qualifying championships for major international events.
A major share of the fund would also go into developing a system of selection of sportspersons based on performance monitoring in the run-up to the international event. Poor performance monitoring has been the bane of Indian sports, with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) hardly having the wherewithal, resources or the will to do so over the years.
The scheme also promises to impart state-of-the-art training to sportspersons both in India and abroad with adequate sports sciences back up. The promise looks just too good on paper, given the fact that the SAI and the Ministry have not even taken the pains to educate its athletes to the menace of doping.
The scheme comprises following three main components:
(i) Comprehensive and intensive training and exposure (both in India and abroad) of 305 days in a year to 1286 elite sportspersons (medal probables) in 18 disciplines of the Commonwealth Games.
(ii) Upgradation of 10 centres of the SAI to international standards to cater to the training requirements of the elite sportspersons.
(iii) Procurement of sports science/medical equipment for equipping SAI centres with latest state-of-the-art facilities to cater to the sport science back-up/medical facilities of the elite sportspersons.
Of the Rs. 678 crore, Rs. 375. crore will be earmarked for training and exposure, Rs.85 crore for upgradation of SAI Centres and Rs. 218 crore for providing sport science back-up/medical facilities to the sportspersons.