The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has formed a six-member committee to prepare a module for phased resumption of training as sports minister Kiren Rijiju assured that elite athletes can start practice once the COVId-19 forced lockdown is lifted.
The SAI has already formed a committee to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the phased resumption of training across sporting disciplines at all its centres.
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.
“Once the lockdown is lifted and restrictions are eased, the practice session of our elite elites will resume in phased manner. I appeal sportspersons and all stakeholders not to rush because health and safety is our top priority at this point of time,” Rijiju tweeted.
The minister’s office also took to twitter to say that he will interact with elite weightlifters currently stuck in NIS, Patiala to take their feedback about resumption of training.
“@KirenRijiju will interact with elite weightlifters housed in SAI’s National Center of Excellence in Patiala to discuss and seek suggestions of ways to restart training with health as priority,” Rijiju’s office tweeted.
Besides weightlifters, Rijiju will also interact with athletes and Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams to take their view regarding the resumption of training.
All training had been suspended across SAI centers in view of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
The panel will draft a training resumption module (SOP) which will explain the 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 pool activities involve different health risks compared to other sports.
The recommendations to the various 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.
All NSFs have been asked to share their recommendations of preventive measures that must be followed in each sport so as to ensure safety of athletes.
The committee for swimming will be headed by Executive Director, TEAMS Division of SAI Radhica Sreeman, and will include Monal Choksi, secretary general of the Swimming Federation of India, senior coaches and doctors.
“The SAI will draw up the guidelines in consultation with coaches and medical practitioners to ensure all preventive measures are put in place before swimmers resume training,” the statement said.
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