SAI to turn best training facilities into TOPS centres of excellence, says sports minister Kiren Rijiju

Both SAI and non-SAI sporting facilities across the country will be earmarked as TOPS NCEOs, depending on the existing centres and performance of athletes at those venues.

Press Trust of India October 08, 2020 19:40:53 IST
SAI to turn best training facilities into TOPS centres of excellence, says sports minister Kiren Rijiju

File image of Kiren Rijiju. Image credit: Twitter/@RijijuOffice

New Delhi: Eyeing the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, the Sports Authority of India is set to turn some of the country's best training facilities into Target Olympic Podium Scheme National Centres of Excellence (TOPS NCOE).

The decision was taken at SAI's 53rd General Body Meeting chaired by sports minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday.

The move will provide additional impetus to the preparation for 2024 and 2028 Summer Games.

The centres will be operated in collaboration with National Sports Federations (NSFs).

"The government is committed to provide a sports ecosystem of global standards for athletes. These TOPS NCEOs will have state-of-art infrastructure, best-in-class coaches and support staff as well as modern sports science support," Rijiju said in a statement.

Both SAI and non-SAI sporting facilities across the country will be earmarked as TOPS NCEOs, depending on the existing centres and performance of athletes at those venues.

The meeting was also attended by members and various stakeholders, including Indian Olympic Association secretary general Rajeev Mehta, sports icons such as former table tennis player Kamlesh Mehta, shuttler and Dhyan Chand awardee Trupti Murgunde, ex-hockey player Deepak Thakur, wushu world championships silver medallist Yumnam Sanathoi Devi and boxer Akhil Kumar, among others.

During the meeting the minister also informed that talent scouting committees, consisting of top ex-athletes, coaches and experts, are being formed and will begin the task of identifying sporting talent in various disciplines from across the country within the next 4-5 months, assuming that the COVID-19 situation would improve by then.

The move is in line with the plan to identify young sporting talent that can be groomed for 2024 and 2028 Olympics.

Various other decisions were also taken during the meeting, including the creation of new sports infrastructure projects and upgradation of existing infrastructure projects at National Centre of Excellence to the tune of Rs 120 crore.

A policy has also been put in place to provide out-of-turn promotion to coaches employed with SAI, based on their performance in various national and international events.

Since taking charge of the sports ministry, Rijiju has time and again said that he aspires to see India finish among top 10 nations in the medals tally at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

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