As the Ministry of Home Affairs laid out new guidelines and rules for the extension of the nationwide lockdown, allowing sports stadiums and complexes to open without any spectators, the Chandigarh Administration said, it will take the final decision on Monday regarding opening more than 20 sports stadium and complexes located in the UT.
“We have received the MHA guidelines and the Chandigarh Sports Department will decide about opening up of the stadiums and sports complex after a meeting with UT Administrator, UT Adviser and the other concerned officers on Monday. If we open, our aim will be to follow all the social distancing measures at the sports complexes and stadiums. We also have to decide about whether practice for players of judo, wrestling or other contact sports should be allowed or not. The Municipal Corporation team has been undertaking steps to teach the personnel of other departments regarding sanitisation and we will follow the same process with the UT Sports Department personnel, if needed,” said KK Yadav, Secretary Sports, Chandigarh, who also is the commissioner of UT Municipal Corporation.
With the Chandigarh Sports Department running more than 20 sports complexes, the city has over 6,000 players training at these complexes. While the training has been put on halt since March, coaches have been giving the players fitness tasks apart from a fitness routine at home. The last two months have also seen the Chandigarh Sports Department personnel inspecting the food and supply of essential food items in the city. “If the UT Administration decides to open the stadium and complexes, we will have to follow strict social distancing measures there and if required, we will make the players train in small batches. For the last 40-50 days, our coaches and officials have been working in assisting food and supply chain in Chandigarh and they have been following social distancing measures. Their role will be important if the stadiums open after the final decision,” shared Tejdeep Singh Saini, Director Sports, Chandigarh.
While the UT sports complexes and stadiums sees players train for sports such as cricket, athletics, boxing, basketball, hockey, judo, badminton among other games, the city also sees a sizable footfall at the CLTA Tennis Stadium and Panjab University Shooting range. Coaches said that the associations and the UT Sports Department needs to draft rules for trainees apart from taking other measures, if they decide to open. “There are over five badminton complexes in Chandigarh and we need to take measures like using only half or one third of the court and allowing less number of trainees in batches if the UT Administration decides to open. The courts and complexes should be sanitised before and after each session and players should practice with a single partner and not in groups. Parents should also not be allowed inside the complexes,” said Surinder Mahajan, secretary, Chandigarh Badminton Association and Indian badminton coach.
2018 Para Asian Games and last year’s World Para Athletics Championship bronze medallist Vinay Kumar believes that the administration can think about separate timings for national and international athletes. “While players will have their fears, if social distancing and other measures are followed properly, it will help national and international players. While athletics does not see many players like in team sports, social distancing needs to be followed strictly. The UT Administration may also decide on separate timings for national and international level athletes,” shared Kumar.
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