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'Have to plan to make sports more interesting without fans'

Source: PTI
May 10, 2020 20:10 IST
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"A roadmap is being prepared. If something happens to top athletes it will be a setback and so we are careful and that's why there are no positive coronavirus cases for our athletes till now. Players are pride of our country and so we can't risk anything," Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju said.

The coronavirus-forced nationwide lockdown, which has been extended till May 17, forced the sports ministry to delay the resumption of the training camps at SAI centres. 

IMAGE: The coronavirus-forced nationwide lockdown, which has been extended till May 17, forced the sports ministry to delay the resumption of the training camps at SAI centres. Photograph: PTI/Files

Plans are in place to start outdoor training in premier centres in India later this month and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the government had to tread a careful path to ensure that athletes remained free from COVID-19.

Rijiju had already said that his ministry was devising a plan for a phased resumption of national camps for Olympic-bound athletes, starting with the athletes currently based at NIS Patiala and SAI Centre in Bengaluru by the end of this month.

 

"A roadmap is being prepared. If something happens to top athletes it will be a setback and so we are careful and that's why there are no positive coronavirus cases for our athletes till now. Players are pride of our country and so we can't risk anything," Rijiju said.

"Medical experts, technical committee are working to start things. We have started preparing, NIS Patiala, Delhi IG stadium, SAI centres, premier sports centres will be opened after lockdown," he was quoted as saying by India Today.

The coronavirus-forced nationwide lockdown, which has been extended till May 17, forced the sports ministry to delay the resumption of the training camps at SAI centres.

Rijiju said preference will be given to athletes who have qualified for Tokyo Olympics or those who have to go for Olympic qualifiers. He said other athletes might have to wait till at least September but added that this shouldn't make them sad as everyone will come back to the field in a planned manner.

"Players request to allow them to play. But everyone can't be given permission together as it would be risky and so top athletes who have qualified for Olympics or have to go for qualifiers will be given preference.

"No need to be sad for other athletes. Federations are requesting and I know how boring it is without sports but this challenge is for everyone and we will have to wait. We are planning in that manner and the road map is ready."

Rijiju also assured that all the players and coaches will be looked after and they would not be left to suffer in these difficult times.

"Foreign coaches are being used in different manners, they are being paid. Nobody should be deprived of salary in these tough situations. The budding players have gone back home and we will call them again, we will do something for the needy ones so that they don't suffer much."

He said the government will also help National Sports Federations.

"Not only sports, life has changed. Sports also will come up in a new way. We will have to plan to make sports more interesting without fans. Stadiums in future will not be filled with fans. IPL is rich and get revenue from TV but there are others which need help. We will help those sports and federations.

"Sports is an industry and a large employment sector. There is going to be losses because of the lockdown but we are taking calculated measures. We have big aims and want India to be among top 10 nations in terms of winning medals."

SAI forms 6-member panel to prepare SOP for phased resumption of training post COVID

New Delhi: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has formed a six-member committee to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for phased resumption of training across sporting disciplines at all the centres once the coronavirus-forced national lockdown is lifted.

The six-member panel will be headed by SAI secretary SAI Rohit Bharadwaj and will consist CEO Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Rajesh Rajagopalan, Executive Director (Operations) SS Roy, SS Sarla, Col BK Nayak and Assistant Director TOPS Sachin K as its members.

All training had been suspended across SAI centers in view of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel will draft a SOP, describing protocols and preventive measures to be observed by all stakeholders, including trainees, coaches, technical and non-technical support staff, NSFs, administrators, mess and hostel staff and visitors, once training resumes.

The SOP will include in detail the guidelines to be followed on entry norms, santisation guidelines, precautions to be taken in common areas and by athletes while travelling to and from the centre. 

The SAI, however, stated that a separate committee has been formed to prepare a SOP for swimming, since the sport requires athletes to train in water and may have different health risks involved, as compared to other sport.

The recommendations of the committees are being made in consultation with respective National Sporting Federations and other stakeholders, and will be sent to the Sports Ministry for final approval.

All NSFs have been asked to share their recommendations of preventive measures that must be followed in each sport so as to ensure safety of athletes.

The committee for swimming will be headed by Executive Director, TEAMS Division of SAI Radhica Sreeman, and will include Monal Choksi, secretary general of the Swimming Federation of India, senior coaches and doctors.

"The SAI will draw up the guidelines in consultation with coaches and medical practitioners to ensure all preventive measures are put in place before swimmers resume training," the statement said.

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