Multi-purpose stadiums such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, which used to be the training base for many international athletes as well as Sports Authority of India (SAI) campers, have been blocked for hosting Indian Super League (ISL) matches.(Getty Images)
Multi-purpose stadiums such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, which used to be the training base for many international athletes as well as Sports Authority of India (SAI) campers, have been blocked for hosting Indian Super League (ISL) matches.(Getty Images)

SAI to employ Olympians, Paralympians as coaches at its centres

According to a statement issued by SAI, Olympians and Paralympians are eligible to apply as assistant coaches and medal winners can directly apply for the position of coaches which falls under Group A position.
By Avishek Roy
UPDATED ON JAN 14, 2021 11:38 PM IST

The Sports Ministry is looking to hire Olympians and Paralympians as coaches for Sports Authority of India's (SAI) National Centres of Excellence to fill up vacant posts. A SAI notification said that posts for 23 assistant coaches and 4 coaches had been reserved for Olympians and Paralympians. "Medal winners can directly apply for the position of coaches which is a Group A position,” the statement said.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the idea is “to attract the best talent from the world of sport to coaching.”

A parliamentary standing committee on “Preparation for Olympic Games – 2021”, had made some strong observations on the dearth of coaches in SAI centres.

“About 561 vacancies exist for Coaches. This is unacceptable.” the committee had noted in its report submitted last month.

One of India’s top coaches, Pullela Gopichand said it was a good move as there was a shortage of coaches across disciplines. “We are short of coaches across the board. I hope this will reduce the gap between what we need and what we have got now,” said the badminton chief coach. "You always want your best athletes to get back into coaching."

Gopichand, however, also felt that there were other factors like remuneration to be taken into account.

“The problem is that all athletes who are Olympians will be employed somewhere or the other. You have to see what are the specifics of the job with regards to remuneration, promotion etc. All these things matter when people make a decision to leave an existing job, but having said that the move is certainly in the right direction,” he said.

Going by the eligibility criteria, an assistant coach (Olympian) should not be more than 30 years, while a coach (Olympian/Paralympian) should not be more than 35 years.The scheme is mainly meant for athletes who are still competing at the highest level. They will be allowed to continue with their sporting career, even as they chart out a career after retirement. The selected coaches will also need to pursue Diploma in Sports Coaching conducted by the National Institute of Sports in Patiala.

“It is a good initiative but at the moment it is about a player who is on the verge of retirement, for those specific set of athletes who are competing and do not have a job or looking at a career post retirement,” said former international badminton player turned coach Arvind Bhat.

At present there are 23 National Centres of Excellence, and most are plagued by a shortage of coaches. The government last year removed the salary cap of 2 lakh for Indian "High Performance" coaches training elite athletes to narrow the huge salary gulf with foreign coaches.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
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