Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Pullela Gopichand have been included in an eight-member task force formed by the Sports Ministry to draw a plan for the next three Olympic Games. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced after the Rio Games, where India won just two medals, that a task force will be set up to help plan for the 'effective participation' of Indian sportspersons at the next three Olympics, in 2020, 2024 and 2028. Former Indian hockey captain Viren Rasquinha is the only other ex-sportsperson included in the task force.
The other five members of the task force are School Sports Promotion Board head Om Pathak, hockey coach S Baldev Singh, who runs an academy in Shahabad, G L Khanna (Professor and Dean of Exercise and Physiology at Manav Rachna International University at Faridabad), journalist Rajesh Kalra and Sports Authority of Gujarat Director General Sandeep Pradhan.
Announcing the task force in New Delhi, Sports Minister Vijay Goel told reporters that "the tenure of the committee will be for three months or till the time it submits its report".
He said the job of the chairman of the committee will be given on rotational basis while Pradhan will be the convener.
The main job of the task force will be to suggest a comprehensive action plan including short-term, medium-term and long-term measures for effective participation of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympic Games.
Other points included in the terms of reference were to suggest effective methods to identify core probable/medal prospects for 2020 Olympics, their coaches and support staff; to suggest effective talent identification system for 2024 and 2028 Olympics; to identify components of world class support system for elite sportspersons and ways to significantly improve standards of coaching; to suggest ways to create and upgrade sports infrastructure necessary to train top-level athletes and to make suggestion regarding foreign training and exposure of top-level athletes.
(With inputs from PTI)