New Delhi: Despite the beating the country took in the aftermath of the controversy-marred Commonwealth Games, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) is confident of a good showing from its athletes in the 2012 London Olympics and is expecting a haul of at least 10 medals.
While admitting that India's preparation has suffered owing to the unearthing of scams-related stories post CWG, SAI Director General Desh Deepak Verma was gung-ho about the athletes' showing in London next year and said organising more national camps and foreign trips will be the way forward.
"The phase after the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, we all were entangled in various issues related to corruption and mismanagement during the CWG. Our Olympic preparations suffered in the aftermath of the CWG. It was unfortunate as that left us handicapped. Another major incident which affected our preparation was Indian athletes failing dope test.”
"Now we are taking our Olympic preparations in a very serious manner. SAI is in full swing and we are expecting at least 10 medals in the London Games. Last Olympics in Beijing, we won three medals (one gold and two bronze). This time we have drawn our plans under the scheme 'Excellence in Olympics' to win around 10 medals," Verma said.
Verma said the large number of Indian athletes qualifying for the London Olympics inspired SAI to lay out such an ambitious plan.
"For laying out such an ambitious plan, credit should go to the players and coaches both Indian and foreign. The number of athletes qualifying for the London Games shows that we are going to win more medals this time. I can assure you that in many disciplines there could be lot of surprises in waiting at the London event," said Verma, 1978 batch IAS officer of the UP cadre.
The SAI DG informed that every week they will be holding a review meeting to check where India's preparations are heading for the London Olympics and World Championships.
"Every week we are holding a review meeting to check our preparations. We have drawn a list of disciplines and identified 32 games to be on our priority list out of which 16 will be Olympic sports and remaining non-Olympics. Our special focus will be on Olympic sports," he said.
In its bid to enhance India's medal prospects at international events including Olympics, SAI has decided to increase the number of national camps and foreign trips for the athletes.
"In July-August, 25 national camps have been held. In September, 23 national camps will be organised. It will continue for all the coming years. On an average, 20-25 camps would be organised every month for different disciplines.”
"We have also decided to send our elite players and developmental teams for the much-needed foreign exposure every month. Athletes from different disciplines will be sent to foreign countries to prepare better for the international events including Olympics," Verma informed.
"We have drawn a calendar right up to the next Olympics. All this comes under our scheme 'Long Term Development Programme'. As per the usual ritual, we generally draw plans for 4 years and but now we have changed the strategy. We are making plan right up to 2020 Olympics which covers next Asiad and 2016 Olympics," he added.
First Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 18:31