In a first, the Sports Authority of India is set to hire top-of-the-line professionals – nutritionists, chefs and managers – to ensure that athletes are given personalised diets at its centres.
The personalised diets will be provided at its centres in Delhi, Patiala, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kolkata, Bhopal, Gandhinagar, Lucknow, Imphal, Guwahati, Mumbai, Sonepat, Aurangabad, Rohtak and Alleppey.
SAI has already sought applications from nutritionists, assistant nutritionists, chefs, assistant chefs and mess managers, to put in place an in-house system by September 15, 2019.
To ensure that the best resources can be hired, remunerations have been kept at par with industry standards, with a thrust on technical competence and experience in a related field. Chefs and nutritionists will be hired at a salary of up to Rs 1 lakh.
In the new system the diet for each athlete, irrespective of age and category, will be drawn up without any financial ceiling by the nutritionist in consultation with the coach training the athlete and on-campus sports science experts.
A series of checks have been put in place to ensure that the best quality food is served to athletes. Sudden checks by the head of institute and daily checks by the nutritionists will be part of the quality control process, along with a weekly consultation session by nutritionists and coaches with the athletes for their first-hand feedback.
The move is an implementation of the decision taken by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju in June, to end the disparity in diet between senior and junior athletes.
Speaking about the implementation of his decision Rijiju said, "Different athletes have different diet requirements and deciding on their food intake purely on the basis of whether they are senior or junior was not the right way.
"It had to be corrected, and we have done it. We will ensure that every athlete gets the diet that he or she needs. We will put together a thoroughly professional team for best results."