New Delhi: Sports secretary Sindhushree Khullar on Tuesday said the government would soon establish an
integrated National Institute of Sports Sciences to produce qualified sports medicine practitioners and also to tackle the menace of doping in the country.
Khullar conceded that the country has lacked behind in the field of sports medicine and the proposed institute would help in addressing the problem.
"We are focussing now on the establishment of an integrated National Institute of Sports Sciences which will
address the problem of lack of sports medicine practitioners. We are lacking in the area of sports medicine," she said during a panel discussion on `Sports -- the Health Way`.
"The sports medicine practitioners will also help in tackling the menace of doping by educating the athletes and coaches. Different aspects of sports injury, rehabilitation etc will be developed," she said.
"But we will not look it from the prism of sports only. It will be an integrated institute and all those who attends the institute will have to be a qualified medical practitioner first," Khullar added.
Recently retired former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia said sportspersons in the country have been hit hard for long due to lack of development in the field of sports medicine.
"The frustrating thing in India is that sportspersons do not have good sports medicine facilities from top to bottom. Even the big football clubs in India do not have qualified physiotherapists and masseurs," he said.
"Because of lack of development in sports medicine we do not even have proper diet charts. While I was in FC Bury in England (1999-2003) I was given a list of what to eat and what not to, what supplements are to be taken and what not to. That helps in on-field performances," he said.
Talking about doping menace in the country, Bhaichung, who is one of few international footballers to have played more than 100 matches for his country, said, "India need to do research on food supplements. We can manufacture food supplements here. Most of the food supplements the Indian athletes are using come from China or Australia. So we don`t know whether they are genuine or not."
Khullar also said another area the ministry was looking into is the re-training of qualified coaches in large numbers which will start at the National Institute of Sports at Patiala, which was recently demerged from Sports Authority of India.
"NIS will become an institute which sets international benchmark in coach training and we will soon form a separate society at Patiala to start that," she said.
Asked about the recent doping scandal in athletics, Khullar said she would not hold Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogrodnik guilty till the Justice Mudgal Committee Report comes out.
"I would be hesitant to pillory Yuri as of now. It seems that he gave a list of supplements the athletes should eat and the athletes did that. But we are waiting for the Justice Mudgal Committee Report," she said.
On why the sports ministry relied mostly on coaches from former Soviet Block countries, the sports secretary said, "No foreign coach comes cheap and the problem is we don`t have enough qualified home-based coaches. The athletes also want personal foreign coaches.”
"Now we have told the NSFs that we are ready to pay any amount to a foreign coach or home coach if he is a good one."
Former India women`s cricket captain Anjum Chopra was of the view that there was an unrgent need to first train the trainers in India and coaches should send regular reports of their activities to the respective NSFs.