Amid the coronavirus crisis, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has set its sight on next year’s Olympics and encouraged the country’s National Sports Federations (NSF) to begin preparations in earnest.
“All Olympic sports NSFs are requested to please start their draft planning structure for preparation for Tokyo 2021 and for Paris 2024,” IOA president Narinder Batra, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee, said in a press release.
Earlier, the IOA had expressed satisfaction at the news of the postponement, with the governing body’s secretary-general Rajeev Mehta stating, “IOA along with the NSFs welcome and support the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
With the entire international sporting calendar revised for 2020 and 2021 Mehta has requested the NSFs to ask their respective athletes’ to prepare accordingly.
Before the sporing world came to grinding halt and Tokyo Olympics got postponed by a year more than 70 Indian athletes had already qualified for the Tokyo games. The qualified athletes include the men’s and women’s hockey teams.
Since 2015, the IOA has been assisting its member National Sports Federations and State Olympic Associations (SOAs) financially, with an initial handout of Rs 3 lakhs that was later increased to six lakhs.
The IOA has continued to provide this financial support for the 2018-19 financial year to its NSFs and SOAs that have submitted the required documents.
However, as part of the efforts to spur on the NSFs in their 2021 preparations and beyond, and in light of the extraordinary circumstances created by the pandemic, the IOC is also poised to release the grants even to those members that are yet to submit the required documents.
Clarifying the move in an official statement, Batra said, “It has been observed that quite a few NSFs/SOAs have yet not submitted their required documents for releasing the grant.”
“As the whole country is in lock-down due to the outbreak of COVID-19, in IOA we understand that the submission of the required documents will take time from your end.”