IOA seeks feedback from athletes, coaches on resumption of training
Conceding that the risk of athletes losing motivation in the ongoing lockdown is real, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Tuesday sought the views of athletes, coaches and other stakeholders on how to restart the national camps.
National Sports Federations and State Olympic Associations have been asked to collect feedback from the stakeholders such as athletes, coaches, support staff, central and state government ministries, match officials and sports administrators on how and when training should resume. The lockdown has been extended till May 17.
The stakeholders are being asked to respond to a questionnaire and the feedback will be collated and compiled to form a White Paper under IOA President Narinder Batra.
"Training of the athletes was at the peak when the lockdown was enforced and the athletes had to stop their training at once, although it differs from sport to sport. The risk of athletes & coaches losing motivation is real," the document released on Tuesday read.
"In the present scenario, we will have to find out what is the way forward and how athletes can resume sports activities, training and eventually competitions," it added.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has also spoken about a phased reopening of national camps by the end of this month.
The IOA, however, made it clear that the resumption of sports will have to be guided by the public health policies laid down by the central and state governments.
Eighteen National Sports Federations (NSF) and 16 state Olympic associations (SOA) have been asked to send the collated responses from the athletes and other stakeholders so that a draft White Paper is prepared by May 20.
After that, the remaining NSFs and SOAs have been asked to submit the responses by May 31 so that a final White Paper is ready in June.
"IOA President, Secretary General and Chairman Preparation Committee will consult experts and oversee the compilation of the White Paper as well as ensure effective implementation of the training/competition programme and remove hurdles, if any," the document said.
The athletes and the other stakeholders have been asked seven questions which will include the right time and strategy to resume training, changes they foresee in sport when it resumes after lockdown with regards personal hygiene, social distancing, self-protection and precautions that need to be taken.
They are also being asked whether they would want to see spectators in-stadia when competitive sport resumes.
The NSFs have been told to reach out to elite, developing and former athletes as well as the international and national level match officials while the SOAs will seek response from the state, district and club level athletes as well as state health and sport ministries.
The NSFs and SOAs have been tasked to get responses from doctors, virologists and sports medicine experts also.
"Are resources for cleaning and santisation available? How can athletes' time in shared facilities be limited? Are isolation areas available in/near training and competition venues?," these are also among the questions being asked.
Sports ministry invites nominations for national sports awards through e-mail
The Sports Ministry on Tuesday told aspirants for this year's national sports awards to e-mail their nominations in view of the lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as it began the process for selecting the multiple honours, including the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
The process, which usually begins in April, was pushed to this month because of the lockdown, which is into its third phase and will end on May 17.
"Due to lockdown on account of outbreak of COVID-19, hard copies of nominations are not required to be sent. Scanned copies of nominations duly signed by the applicant and recommending authority may be sent before last date of submission," read a ministry circular.
The last date of filing nominations has been fixed at June 3.
"Nominations received after last date will not be entertained. The Ministry will not be responsible for any delay," the circular stated.
The national sports awards cover multiple aspects.
The athletes are rewarded through the Arjuna and Khel Ratna, which is the country's highest sporting honour.
The Droncharya award covers excellence in coaching, while the Dhyan Chand award honours lifetime contributions.
For this year's Arjuna and Khel Ratna awards, the performances from January 2016 to December 2019 will be taken into consideration. As is always the case, athletes with dope taint will not be considered.
"Sportspersons who have been penalized or against whom enquiry is pending/ongoing for use of drugs/substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) based on a sample collected by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA)...will not be eligible for the Award," the ministry stated.
The Khel Ratna comes with a prize money of Rs 7.5 lakh, while the Arjuna awardees are presented with Rs 5 lakh.
Last year, the Khel Ratna was shared by paralympian Deepa Malik and star wrestler Bajrang Punia.