The training is set to resume in a phased manner by the end of this month.

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has ensured that the training of elite athletes would resume once the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the country would be lifted. He has asserted the fact that the health of the concerned sportspeople is of the topmost precedence in the current scenario.

Rijiju took to Twitter to voice out his opinion on this issue. His statement read, “Once the lockdown is lifted, we will resume the training of our elite athletes followed by other SAI Training Centres in phased manner. I appeal sportspersons and all stakeholders not to rush because health and safety is our top priority presently.”

It is vital to note that the minister has reinforced the claim that he had made earlier this month. On May 3, he sounded positive by remarking that the camps for all athletes would reopen by the end of the ongoing month. He had commented, “I thought of starting training of athletes at SAI centres from May 3 (the earlier stated end for the lockdown). Now we will have to do that in a phased manner by the end of this month.”

There are plenty of issues for the ministry to resolve presently. Contact sports run a high risk of spreading the coronavirus and hence it has been curbed down significantly worldwide over the past couple of months. Hence the ways in which the practice and training of sports like wrestling and boxing could be recommenced is being pondered over.

Accordingly, the track and field athletes are also requesting the authorities to provide them clearance to begin training within the campus of the SAI itself. Apparently they are based over there right now.  

“Sports events don’t get any relaxations under Disaster Management Act. We don’t fall under the category of essential services,” Kiren Rijiju had observed back then. The proceeding lockdown lasts until May 17. The third phase of this confinement has also seen certain phased lifting, and more of the same in the near future could result in the athletes returning back to their respective training regimes soon.

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