Kerala

COVID norms thrown to wind as children crowd sports stadium

Children crowding the Jawahar Municipal Stadium, venue of the selection trial organised by the Kerala State Sports Council in Kannur on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Sepcial Arrangement

Despite the warning that the third wave of COVID-19 may affect a large section of children, the zonal selections organised by the Kerala State Sports Council at Jawahar Municipal Sports Stadium saw a large number of children from the districts of Kannur and Kasaragod crowding the place on Tuesday.

The overwhelming crowd at the one-day selection trial violated the COVID-19 norms, as those participating flooded the stadium and did not maintain proper physical distancing or wear masks all through the day. However, they attended the selection trials after producing the certificate of antigen testing performed within 24 hours.

Incidentally, the selection trials were conducted when the government had given no permission for sports and games activities that involves any contact. As per the order issued on July 6, only indoor sports and gym are allowed.

Apparently, the sports council organised the selection for 19 disciples in sports and games.

Despite such large turn-out at the ground, the police and district administration turned a blind eye to the event. No police were deputed and not even a sectoral magistrate was present at the spot to ensure that the COVID norms were followed.

According to the organisers, 400 children, who came from various parts of Kasaragod and Kannur districts participated in the selection.

The organisers claimed that they had received a special permission to carry out the selection process after they submitted a request to the Chief Minister's Office and to the Sports Minister.

Shinith Patiyam, secretary, Kannur District Sports Council, said the selections were going to be conducted in other places and also for sports schools in the coming days. The selections were unavoidable as the admissions to schools and colleges had to be completed. If the trials were not conducted, their academic year and achievement in sports would be lost, he said.

‘Permission not granted’

When contacted, the district administration said that no permission had been granted to carry out the selection trials.

Additional District Magistrate K.K. Divakaran said that the government had allowed only indoor sports and gyms in the A and B category areas.

The District Disaster Management Authority too received no such requests or applications to conduct selection trials at the stadium, clarified Deputy Collector Jayakumar.

Kannur Corporation Mayor T.O. Mohanan said the ground was allotted based on the letter submitted by the District Sports Council.

District Police Chief R. Ilango said they had just then got the intimation about the sports selections.

Anxious parents, who came from various places of the two districts with their children, besides being concerned about health and safety, were surprised about selection trials that were limited to just one day.

Questions were raised how children would be able to travel due to COVID-19 lockdown. Those unable to reach the venue may have lost an opportunity to attend the selections, they said.

The selections were to pick athletes for the District Sports Academies, School Sports Academies, Elite Scheme and Operation Olympia projects operating in various districts under the Kerala State Sports Council.


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 3:23:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/covid-norms-thrown-to-wind-as-children-crowd-sports-stadium/article35434300.ece

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