Coronavirus cases have surpassed 1,00,000 mark in India.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary Rajeev Mehta has opined that the training of athletes should not recommence right now. He claims that the number of coronavirus-infected cases in India is on the rise gradually, and the conditions currently might not be conducive for the same.
“It is being predicted that COVID-19 will peak in June. Despite lockdown restrictions, cases are increasing day by day. So, in such a scenario, what’s the rush to start the training of athletes?” Mehta questioned, whilst speaking to the IANS. In the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown, the government has eased several restrictions.
Accordingly, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) released a set of guidelines that were approved by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. It is named as the standard operating procedures (SOP) and the athletes are supposed to act in adherence with it whilst they resume their respective training sessions.
Mehta further raised his concerns by observing, “Athletes are assets of our country and it is our responsibility to provide safety to them. Some of the athletes have even qualified for the Olympics and they will be participating in the Tokyo Games without a doubt.”
One of the critical aspects of this whole situation is that the sportspeople would be asked to sign a ‘Training Consent Form’. This would take into consideration the fact that the individuals are aware of the perils or risks that come with restarting their training and practice procedures. Meanwhile, they have also been prompted to follow social distancing rules and sanitize their equipment.
The general secretary though further reasserted his understanding of the scenario. He said, “I don’t understand what the rush to start with the training. It’s my personal opinion that training should not start as of now as it will put the athletes in risk. Let the COVID-19 situation come in some sort of control.”
He even said that though the accordance and permission of the athletes are being taken, they should not be under any sort of pressure from the national and state federations to get back to the groove. Personally, some of Mehta’s responsibilities and duties as a general secretary were withdrawn on Thursday.
This message was communicated to him by the IOA President Narinder Batra through an email. In that, it was stated that some people would share the workload that is currently managed by the present general secretary. However, Mehta seemed to disagree with this decision and hence remarked, “I don’t know what happened. Everything is defined in our constitution and all duties are assigned to the people. It was a sudden event that I was informed that some of my duties are being withdrawn.”
He further added that though the President thinks that he has additional duties to carry out, he is quite comfortable with the assignments that are allocated to him.