A parliamentary panel on Thursday recommended putting athletes, coaches and support staff going for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the priority group for the coronavirus vaccination process.
The committee also voiced concern over large number of vacancies of coaches, saying they should be filled up in a time-bound manner so that Olympic preparations do not suffer. The Olympics are slated to be held from July next year.
The department-related parliamentary standing committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports headed by Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe submitted its report on “Preparation for Olympics – 2021” to Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu virtually.
Several foreign coaches had resigned and returned to their respective countries in the course of the pandemic. Besides, most sporting disciplines have foreign experts who are either 65 or above. Those above 65 were asked by their respective sports bodies to not visit training venues.
“About 561 vacancies exist of coaches. This is unacceptable. These should be filled up within specific time-bound manner so that Olympic preparations don’t suffer,” it said.
The panel has also recommended identifying training facilities, stadia and sports centres for Olympic-bound athletes which have not opened yet. It said the closed centres should be reopened at the earliest or the athletes should be relocated to alternate centres which have opened.
The report said medical staff and other medical equipment such as X-Ray and MRI machines should be made available within select Sports Authority of India and other training centres.
“This will ensure that athletes do not lose any time for treatment and recovery,” it observed.