International Olympic Committee to help India prepare for Tokyo 2020
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach’s visit to India has come at a time when the country is celebrating its success at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 and looking at the Tokyo Olympics with optimism.
To tap ‘India’s potential’ in Olympic sport, IOC has decided to help with its expertise to prepare the country’s medal hopefuls for the 2020 Games.
Bach informed that during a meeting with sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra in the morning, it was decided that a working group would be formed to bring in international expertise on sports science and coaching to help Indian athletes prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.
“My visit could not have come at a better time. I congratulate IOA and Indian athletes for the grand success they achieved at the Commonwealth Games with 66 medals. The athletes have set a great example and sent a strong signal of their potential,” Bach, who has come on a whirlwind two-day tour to India, said on Thursday while addressing the media.
“We hope India will be able to tap into its great potential, win as many medals with a strong performance at the Olympic stage. The IOC today met the executive board of the IOA under Mr Batra, and also had a meeting with the sports minister. We have discussed the issue and made an offer, which has been accepted by the IOA and the sports minister.
“We have decided to form a working group with IOC, Olympic Council of Asia, IOA and the sports ministry to devise a road map where the most hopeful athletes from India will be best prepared for 2020 Tokyo Olympics with international expertise at their disposal.
“We have offered assistance and co-operation to the IOA to help in the matter of sports science, coaching, etc. I think it is a good initiative for the athletes of India and we are hopeful of seeing excellent results.”
Autonomy, good governance
IOA has been at loggerheads with the ministry over the ‘autonomous’ functioning of the National Sports Federations. There is also constant tussle between IOA and the ministry over the Sports Code.
The IOC chief said the sports minister made a reference to practices of good governance and transparency in the federations and here also the international body has offered its expertise to see that ‘nobody crosses the line’ and the Olympic charter is honoured.
“Autonomy and good governance are two sides of the same coin. It is important to recognise the autonomy of the sports bodies or else there will be no international support and you cannot have fair competition. We are pleased with the firm commitment of Mr Batra and the IOA to make good governance a priority. The government too has to respect the rights of a sports organisation, in a way that both have to go together.
“IOC has offered to put its expertise at the disposal of the ministry and IOA and to find a solution in line with the Olympic charter and IOC good governance. It has been accepted by both IOA and Ministry. I am hopeful of a good solution and happy with the resolution.”
Asked about India’s poor track record in doping and whether the issue was raised at the meeting with the IOA and sports minister, Bach said: “There has been clear and firm commitment from the minister that fair and clean sports is their top priority and it’s a commitment shared by the IOA too. I am confident that this issue will be addressed in a proper way.”