AFTER AN inactive period of four months, outdoor non-team sporting facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts opened up smoothly on Wednesday. This comes after the central government, as part of ‘Unlock 3.0’ guidelines, allowed outdoor sports facilities, such as golf courses, outdoor firing range, outdoor tennis and badminton courts, outdoor gymnastics and mallakhamb sites, to open from August 5 with conditions of distancing and sanitisation measures.
Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) issued guidelines to ensure safety at all tennis centres in the state. Apart from the compulsory distancing of six feet, sanitisation and masks, as per protocol, players must handle their own equipment and carry personal (marked) balls and avoid sharing.
The guidelines also mention that, at a given time, a maximum of two players will be allowed on court for singles while a maximum of four in case of doubles. “Tennis courts have reopened for practice, in adherence to guidelines issued by MSLTA. We have circulated the same to the tennis community, so that all necessary precautions are followed. It is a positive decision after four months of complete shutdown of sports in the district,” said Sunder Iyer, Secretary, MSLTA.
For golf, Swastik Sirsikar, captain of Poona Club Golf Course, said to ensure everyone’s welfare at the course, the club had undertaken certain steps. “Distancing is naturally maintained in golf. Nonetheless, we are taking certain steps, such as allowing 50 golfers at any given time, prior bookings, and only three balls to tee at a given time. Apart from this, we will draw a magic ring around the hole and the ball placed in the circle will be taken as a given putt, to avoid unnecessary touching. We also encourage members to bring their own sanitisers for clubs, grip, and ball. Caddies are not allowed for the time being until the situation is better,” he said.
Gun For Glory Shooting Academy at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex will make its outdoor firing range operational from August 17.
“The outdoor firing range for 25 m, 50 m, and shotgun will finally resume for practice from August 17. We are taking the time to sanitise lanes and equipment. Indoor premises, however, will remain closed until further instructions. As an additional precautionary step, we will ask shooters to leave a lane in between. Normally, the distance between two lanes is one-and-a-half metre, but with one left vacated it increases to three metres. We will also have increased our relay time from 30 minutes to an hour,” said Pawan Jayaprakash Singh, Joint Secretary General of National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
No sport called ‘outdoor badminton’
Guidelines stating “outdoor badminton” left players and parents confused over whether badminton courts had opened for practice.
Badminton is professionally played indoors on a wooden or synthetic court. Sarang Lagu, member and executive council, Poona District and Metropolitan Badminton Association (PDMBA), said due to the confusing wording of the guidelines, they received several inquiries. “Badminton is an indoor sport and ‘outdoor badminton’ has left many confused. We got calls regarding resumption. I believe that the guidelines speak of badminton played for leisure and recreation in outdoor spaces like society compounds. For now, badminton courts will remain closed until further instructions,” he said.
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