Tirupati: In its bid to ramp up the sports infrastructure following India’s dismal performance at the Rio Olympics, the government is mulling to open ten sports science and medicine units across the country over the next five years, keeping in mind the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.
The Sports Authority of India is looking to tap talents from rural and tribal areas and the hilly regions of the country, in order to groom genetically-advantaged groups to compete at the international level.
“Adequate scientific backup, which is very critical, is missing. Every two years, sports sciences and sport medicines units are planned to be set up. Olympic performing centres will also be established to provide best and latest scientific technology and international level coaching to approximately 1000 top level athletes in disciplines where India has potential in 2024 and 2028 Olympics,” said S S Chhabra, Secretary Sports Authority of India.
Chhabra was speaking at a plenary session on ‘Sports Science and Medicine’, a first of its kind to be organised at the Indian Science Congress.
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He said in the next five years, 10 such centres will come up to cater to the needs of budding athletes. He said the lack of investment was the major reason behind not having world class infrastructure across the country.
“The government has also announced a Task Force to come up with a comprehensive plan for effective participation in next three Olympic Games.”
Navin Agarwal, Director General of National Doping Agency (NADA), who was also at the plenary session, said the anti-doping body will approach the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) to regulate the supplements used by athletes in order to avoid consumption of any prohibited substances, which lead to health hazards and bans.
Agarwal said the current supplement market is quite unregulated and needs monitoring as several athletes in the past have faced bans due to consumption of prohibited supplements.
“Many gyms prescribe certain supplements. The supplements market is pretty unregulated. So we are taking it to food regulatory body to regulate it especially for athlete. These heavyweight people also suffer from illness and problems during their later stage (of life). Mostly they are into taking these prohibited substances,” Agarwal said.
Sports psychologist Sanjeev Sahni emphasised on the need to have sports psychologists not as a backup but as someone who is at par with physiologists.
“Sport is a synergy of mind and body and thus it also requires a sports psychologists,” he said, adding that India also needs to have a separate academic course in the field of sports psychology.