The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has formed a six-member committee to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for a 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 Rohit Bharadwaj and will have 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 members.
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, sanitisation 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.
‘We had to be careful to ensure athletes remain free from Covid-19’
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.
“A roadmap is being prepared. If something happens to top athletes it will be a set back 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.
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.
“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.”