NEW DELHI: IOA president Narinder Batra said he would take up the issue of proper implementation of TOPS scheme with the Sports Ministry and ensure all assistance for athletes in their endeavour to achieve results in international events, including Olympics.
“I have taken note of the observations made by the TOPS scheme committee on the need for better implementation and will be discussing this with the ministry to ensure the best interests of athletes are borne in mind,” Batra said.
Batra was reacting to the recent statement of Abhinav Bindra, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medalist, who emphasised on the need to improve ‘the overall depth of professional support for athletes’.
Batra, who is also the president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), said a systematic development program has reaped benefits for those National Sports Federations (NSFs) who have taken up this initiative.
“It is undoubtedly necessary to have a long-term approach in terms of athlete training and provision of all required amenities for achieving our goals during this Olympic cycle,” he said.
“This approach needs to be adapted not just for top athletes of the country but must start as early as junior and sub-junior levels across disciplines to prepare a medal-worthy contingent for India.
“Those Federations who have already taken this up as priority are seeing results in the international arena,” he added.
Batra said he will take up this matter with the Sports Ministry to ensure necessary facilities and support is provided in this crucial Olympic cycle.
“I would like to emphasise that the IOA will do whatever it takes to ensure a professionally-driven system.
“As the President of IOA, my goal is to see India excel at the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games and to do that we need to work in unison along with NSFs and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and only then shall we can accomplish desired results,” he added.