Sports Minister seems hopeful of resuming sporting activity by the end of this year.

Coronavirus pandemic has not only halted sports activities all over the world but general day-to-day life of the people. India’s sports minister Kiren Rijiju also expressed his opinion on the matter and explained how the country could see resumption of sporting activities and how its athletes will prepare for the Tokyo Olympics slated to be held next year.

Since the start of the pandemic, countries all over the world have resorted to imposing lockdowns in order to curtail the spread of the virus. India is also one of the countries which have struggled to contain the virus and have imposed lockdown to protect its citizens. Sporting activities, as a result, came to a complete halt. However, since the fourth lockdown was announced with several relaxations in the restrictions, one can hope to see the return of sporting events.

Kiren Rijiju explained that a Standard Operating Procedure has been signed to ensure the safety of the athletes as they begin their training regimes.

“We have been planning out and SAI has prepared a detailed SOP which is made by experts from different fields. It is already being issued to all federations and other bodies. We have been advising that health and safety are top priorities and besides that we have to keep in mind we have to keep guidelines issued by the home ministry in mind and the guidelines issued by the local authorities,” said Kiren Rijiju to India Today.

Resuming sporting activities haphazardly could prove to be counterproductive as well. With athletes having to spend a long duration of time in isolation and without training, the negative results will definitely show in their performance. Gauging the problematic nature of resuming tournaments in a hasty manner, Kiren Rijiju expressed, “We have been planning to resume the events but before that we need to resume the practice and training. 

“We cannot resume tournaments immediately. Athletes who are all kept in respective hostels or home Their fitness has been tracked and they have been in touch with the coaches, fitness experts and they are monitoring each and every athlete who is of higher stature and who plays for India.”

He added that the government will take the decision after assessing the situation as they cannot put athletes under any kind of risk. Kiren Rijiju said, “In India, the government has to take a call and it will take a call depending on the situation. We cannot put health at risk just because we want to have a sporting event. Our focus is fighting Covid-19 and at the same time, we will have to work a mechanism to get back to normalcy. It is difficult to confirm dates but I am sure we will have some kind of sporting events this year.”

Sports Minister also revealed the status of India’s preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and said he is confident that the prestigious global event will be held next year.

“Olympics are still far away and we have full confidence in the Japanese government and IOC and every country will support (so) that the conduction of Tokyo 2021 will not be postponed. As far as India’s preparation goes, We are at the best stage of our preparation of any Olympics so far in history. This is going to be India’s biggest contingent so far and have medal-winning prospects,” Rijiju concluded.