Sports Minister Jitendra Singh was far from impressed as he took stock of India's preparations for next year's Commonwealth and Asian Games in a meeting with SAI officials here and expressed dissatisfaction with the progress made so far.
"The Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Jitendra Singh held a meeting on August 5 with the officers of SAI to review the preparation for the Commonwealth Games 2014 at Glasgow and Asian Games 2014 at Incheon, Seoul," the Sports Ministry said in a statement.
"During the meeting, Shri Jitendra Singh expressed his dissatisfaction at the fact that only a handful of National Sports Federations had given a detailed training programme for the probable medal winners identified for the games," it added.
Singh gave several directions to the Sports Authority of India officials, including the setting up of a steering committee headed by Sports Secretary P K Deb to oversee the preparations.
"The Minister directed that a chief coach along with his support staff be appointed for each discipline and their team should be entrusted with the responsibility for coaching of probables," the release said.
"The Minister directed that a Steering Committee headed by Secretary (Sports) be set up and meet every week to review the progress of training sportsperson in each discipline by rotation. This system would hold till the conclusion of Commonwealth Games.
"It was also decided that top-up training needs of individual sportsperson would be identified and be funded from the NSDF," it added.
The Minister also sought an estimate of the training expenses of the athletes.
"...the main expenditure of training of sportsperson would be from the plan head -- Assistance to NSFs. Director General, SAI was asked to provide estimates of expenditure to that suitable provisions could be made for training of sportsperson," the Ministry said.
"It was decided at the meeting that scientific data on all probables would be periodically collected and provided to the coaches so that they could tailor the coaching programme to the play parameters of each sportspersons."
Singh also expressed his displeasure at the exclusion of sports such as archery and wrestling from the CWG as it would impact India's medal haul.
"The Minister was concerned that India would stand to lose at least 30 medals in the next Commonwealth Games due to the exclusion of sports discipline like Archery, Greco Roman Wrestling, Team events in shooting etc," the release stated.
"These constituted more than 30 per cent of the total medals won by India in the Commonwealth Games 2010 at New Delhi. The Minister desired to know how this decision to exclude these events was taken some two years back without the views of India being properly articulated," it added.
The Minister directed Secretary (Sports) to take up the matter at the highest level with the Commonwealth Games Secretariat.
The exclusion of these events will severely impact India's overall standing in the medals position in the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow. In comparison, the number of events dropped from the Asian Games is far less and consists mainly of non-field events like Chess, Billiards, Snooker etc.
Image: Jitendra Singh