Five and a half months after gymnasiums were shut down in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, gymnasts, yoga and table tennis players returned to Netaji Subhash Regional Coaching Centre (NSRCC) indoor stadium here on Monday as the state government approved resumption of coaching in these three sports as per relaxed guidelines of Unlock 3.0.
While the centre approved standard operating procedure (SOP) for gyms and fitness centres to operate like social distancing, sanitization and disinfection, wearing of face guards a far as possible in yoga institutes and gymnasiums, the state government has granted permission to practice table tennis as well, since it is mostly a non-contact sport.
Speaking to reporters after returning to the NSRCC indoor stadium this afternoon, Olympian and Padmashri Dipa Karmakar said she felt very happy to be near the sports equipments once again.
“I have returned to the gym for the first time since it was closed on March 16. I have been at home for these 5.5 months. We sportspersons tend to become mentally weak when we are away from our apparatus for long periods. But my coach (Bisweswar Nandi) sir made us do fitness training through online mode and didn’t let us go lack. I am so happy to return here and I thank the state and central governments for allowing us to return to our sports. We shall try our best to maintain social distancing and other guidelines while practicing”, the ace gymnast said.
She said her main objective now is to regain her usual performance level, after her 5.5 month long time away from the gymnastics mat.
Dipa is known for her Produova vault, also dubbed as the vault of death, in 2016 Rio Olympics. She was later accorded the coveted Padmashri award. Dipa Karmakar was also honoured with Arjuna Award and the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Her coach and Dronacharya awardee Bisweswar Nandi said all scheduled contests were postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic, so the players would now focus on fitness, gradually return to their respective equipments and regain their old performance level.
“All events are postponed due to COVID-19. As event schedule comes up, we shall see what can be done. Right now, we shall try to return all players to their old performance”, he said.
Tripura Sports Council Joint Secretary Saraju Chakraborty said all halls were sanitized and every player was thermally screened on arrival today. He said a selected group of players above 14 years of age were selected for training in the first phase.
“Till further orders, we shall continue work in this way, maintaining social distancing and upholding the standard operating procedure prescribed by the government”, he said.
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