The track and field athlete has been staying at NIS Patiala.

The India international has written to the Sports Minister of India, requesting him to allow a set of athletes to train outdoors at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. Hima Das, along with other athletes, has been confined to their hostel rooms in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy chief national athletics coach Radhakrishnan Nair is supporting the request as the campus has been in total lockdown and has no interference from the outside. Nair said, “Hima and some other athletes have written to the Sports Minister that they be allowed to train one or two hours a day in small groups at different times so that they can also practice social distancing while training at the same time.”

“They have written to Rijiju that they be sent home if no training is allowed. (But) going home is not feasible as the country is in a lockdown and the Prime Minister has said everybody should be where they are.”

“So, the ministry will not allow them to go back home but this outdoor training idea is feasible. We will know about it in a day or two,” he added.

Nair pointed out that the campus is out of bounds for outsiders and it is a safe environment within the guarded walls. He continued, ” We have 41 athletes at NIS and the track and field area is just 50m from the hostels. We can have small groups say eight athletes each and only one group will train at a time for one or two hours.”

He told TOI, “All the athletes of a group will not do running or throwing together, one will run alone and finish it and then another will run after him or her. This way we can practice social distancing and be safe.

The coach also added that the lack of training will bring them back to square one.

“Athletics is different. In many sports, the athletes utilise a small space but a runner or a thrower or a jumper covers a lot of distance and their cardiovascular system and physical strength has to be built continuously over a period of time.

“These athletes have been at NIS training almost non-stop from 2018 onwards, training three shifts everyday and they cannot suddenly stop it.

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