GOVT FUNDS ARE NOT LIKE DOLE, SAYS SAI BOSS
Neelam Kapur has made support to athletes flexible
THE Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Neelam Kapur has welcomed strong steps being taken by national sports federations in enforcing discipline.
In recent times, two prominent federations — weightlifting and wrestling — have placed a premium on discipline and athletes showing up at the national camps on time.
Speaking to MAIL TODAY on Thursday, Neelam Kapur said: “At this level, we must have discipline and the steps being taken by federations are in the right direction.”
After taking over the SAI, she has been holding brainstorming meetings with various sports federations and tried to get a clear picture on what they expect in terms of support from the SAI and the government.
Sports federations officials who spoke to MAIL TODAY have said the new SAI DG is playing a proactive role and their meetings have been fruitful.
After the Commonwealth Games, detailed review meeting have been held between the SAI and federations. More important, Neelam Kapur has taken up individual funding for athletes in various sporting disciplines in a detailed manner.
“The support from the government is not just about the `50,000 allowance they get every month. We have tried to understand the nuances and detailed plans submitted and then acted upon it,” she said.
In less than ten days, two meetings of the Mission Olympic Cell have been held. As chairperson of the meetings, Kapur has made the support being given to athletes flexible. “At present, there are around 190 athletes being supported. After our reviews, 25 to 30 names were dropped and some added. The factors being considered are potential of the athlete, age and how strong the chances are of a particular sport winning a medal at the Asian Games or the Olympics,” said Kapur.
She had visited the expansive NIS Patiala campus last week and interacted with athletes, coaches and officials at the campus. On Thursday, she visited the SAI centre in Lucknow.
The SAI boss also made it clear funding from government under ACTC programme (annual training cum competition) will not be like giving a dole. “I made it clear to the archery officials they need to get their house in order. They need to tell us what is the profile of international coaches they want to hire. Without details, it’s not possible to hire coaches and spend on tours,” was her message.
Kapur has said the Mission Olympic Cell review meetings will become a regular feature and the feedback received from sports federations will be vital.
SAI DG Neelam Kapur