"Though qualification process has barely started, our own assessment is that if women's hockey team qualifies we should comfortably cross the 100 mark. As far as number of medals are concerned, it could be anything between 10 to 15. We would not like to settle for anything less than 10,"said SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas. Srinivas' predecessor Jiji Thomson had severely criticised the functioning at SAI and called it a loosely formed organisation.
India won an unprecedented six medals (2 silver and 4 bronze) at the London Olympics after sending a record 83-athlete contingent in 13 disciplines.
The discipline from where SAI is expecting medals are shooting, boxing, badminton, wrestling, archery and tennis.
Though the men's hockey team have done well to qualify for Rio Games, finishing on the podium will be a tall order.
The first step that Srinivas took since taking charge in March was introducing a 'personalised contact system' for 200 odd athletes who are likely to qualify for the Olympics.
The initiative, which allows athletes to get in touch with SAI officials including Srinivas himself for their grievances and training needs, has worked so far, said the Director General.
"The system has been introduced and and athletes' respective federations are being kept in the loop as well. Athletes have started using this facility, some of them have personally called me. The other day sprinter Dutee Chand called me, wanting to train in Hyderabad and we gave permission for the camp to be held there.
"A boxer wanted to train in Hisar but then we asked him how he will train there when everyone else is in NIS Patiala. So he agreed and stayed back in Patiala. The main point here is that athletes should have the confidence to talk to someone who can give them a definite answer without following too many procedures," said Srinivas.
He further said a dedicated project officer has been assigned to cater to the needs of athletes in each Olympic discipline.
"Without any fear the athletes can contact the project officer, who has the authority to sanction Rs 5 lakh on the spot if the need arises."
Srinivas said there are always resource constraints at SAI but promised that Olympic bound athletes will be provided full support.
"There are always resource constraints and we have to live with that. At this stage, resources are not affecting our programme. Training athletes for Olympics should not be a problem," he said.
"Though we have genuine issues, I have a lot of faith in SAI. I feel there is an urgent need for greater interaction with state governments," said Srinivas when reminded about Johnson's scathing comments on sports ministry's nodal agency.
On India becoming a sporting nation, Srinivas said the country has a long way to go.
"There is a long way to go before we become a sporting nation. Firstly, sport must be made an integral part of education and marks should be given for playing sport. That way many more kids will actually take up the sport and out of them some of them will get into competitive sport. Secondly, the professionalisation and commericalisation of sport needs to take place at a faster pace," added Srinivas.
"Though qualification process has barely started, our own assessment is that if women's hockey team qualifies we should comfortably cross the 100 mark. As far as number of medals are concerned, it could be anything between 10 to 15. We would not like to settle for anything less than 10,"said SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas.
Srinivas' predecessor Jiji Thomson had severely criticised the functioning at SAI and called it a loosely formed organisation.