Sports minister Vijay Goel plans to crack down on doping by making it a criminal offence

New Delhi: Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Friday said the government has strengthened its resolve to make doping a criminal offence in order to instil fear in the minds of sportspersons who indulge in such practices.

"We are trying to make doping a criminal offence, so that fear is instilled in the players and they restrain from getting involved in such practices," said Goel while addressing a select gathering in New Delhi on Friday.

He said, to check the menace, other steps likes obtaining players' signatures, showing films and educating them about doping were also considered by his ministry.

 Sports minister Vijay Goel plans to crack down on doping by making it a criminal offence

File photo of Union sports minister Vijay Goel. PTI

"We are planning to take signatures of the players, besides showing them films on doping and basically educating and spreading awareness about it," said the minister.

Asked how young students can be stopped from testing positive as most of the dope offenders are caught at the school and college levels rather than at the international arena, Goel said, "I think at least those who win medals at the school and college levels should be tested for dope."

The minister also said if those students who have applied in the Delhi University under the sports quota fail to get admission, the department would hold a trial for them separately.

"All those who will fail to get admission in the Delhi University, we would hold trials for them and the chosen ones would be put in some of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres," said Goel.

On the conditions of SAI centres across the country, the minister admitted that except for Bengaluru, Gwalior and Patiala, none of them were in great shape.

"Whenever I get a chance, I visit various SAI centres in the country but in most of them, I have found coaches to be not up to the mark. I have asked all SAI coaches to undergo medical and fitness examinations and will take action based on their reports."

He said that his ministry was working closely with National Sports Federations and act as a "patron" to them.

"We are working closely with the NSFs. I hold regular meetings with them and are looking at ways to improve the facilities for the players. But, at the same time, we have to ensure transparency and accountability of these NSFs."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recently approved big changes to the overall Olympic programme for Tokyo Games 2020 with a number of men's events replaced by women's or mixed events.

When Goel was asked how his ministry would ensure that it does not continue to spend money on those athletes whose weight categories would be revoked for the next Olympics, he said he was in touch with those NSFs, in which there were plans of rejigs.

"We should not be investing in those weight categories which are not there anymore in the Olympics. I have told all concerned NSFs to keep the ministry updated with the abolition and addition of categories in their respective sports," Goel clarified.

On the 'Mission 11 million', an initiative aimed towards taking football to 12,000 schools in 37 cities across the country, Goel claimed that the success rate has reached more than 50 percent.

"We have already reached 6.5 figure mark and taken around 5000 schools under the initiative. There has been a progress on that front," said Goel.

But when told that in reality not many schools have actually come on board, Goel was quick to add that he would soon hold a meeting with the concerned people and find out the current status.

"I will hold a meeting and evaluate what progress has been made so far."

He also insisted that multi-sport championship from rural belts, aimed at identify sporting talents from rural and tribal areas of particular states, would be a regular affair.

"We are starting it with Delhi and trying to role out the model but it would be hosted by other states also to identify talents, as they most of cream comes from rural and tribal areas," he stressed.

Updated Date: Jun 30, 2017 21:11:50 IST