Sports ministry approves opening of stadia

Many NSFs, however, have preferred to adopt a cautious wait-and-watch mode

Updated - May 19, 2020 01:18 am IST

Published - May 19, 2020 12:20 am IST - NEW DELHI

Wait ends:  With sporting complexes opened up, the Indian women’s hockey team would like to get back to serious training.

Wait ends: With sporting complexes opened up, the Indian women’s hockey team would like to get back to serious training.

A day after the Home Ministry advised restricted opening of sports complexes and stadia, the sports ministry has given its go-ahead to the proposal.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, on Monday, confirmed the resumption of sporting activities and training, subject to the central and State-specific guidelines.

Follow guidelines

“I’m happy to inform sportspersons and all concerned that sports activities will be conducted in sports complexes and stadia strictly in accordance with MHA guidelines and that of the States in which they are situated. However, the use of gyms & swimming pools are still prohibited,” Rijiju tweeted.

The ministry’s approval would help Sports Authority of India centres to resume training of athletes, following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) designed by the SAI and individual federations.

Most NSFs, however, have preferred to adopt a cautious wait-and-watch mode, waiting for detailed instructions and clarifications before kick-starting their training and competition schedules.

While Hockey India is awaiting further suitable guidelines and approvals on restarting the national camps for men and women — who have been restricted to SAI Centre, Bengaluru for the past two months — the AFI is unsure how the order impacts the premier NIS in Patiala, where the athletes and weightlifters are.

“Hockey India today submitted the pitch training requests for the men and women core probables and are awaiting approval and confirmation on the same,” the federation said, having submitted its hockey-specific SOP to the ministry on April 11.

Better safe than sorry

AFI president Adille Sumariwalla too has been waiting for government approval for a month. “We submitted our plan way back and are waiting for a go-ahead. Also, as per my understanding, the NIS in Patiala is an educational institution and so remains closed even in the new order.

“We have asked for clarification but honestly, given the situation, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“A couple of days delay in training is better than putting the athletes’ health to any risk,” Sumariwalla told The Hindu .

The NRAI too has decided to proceed slowly, with president Raninder Singh assuring that a firm plan for training and competitions would be drawn up soon once protocols for opening up shooting ranges are finalised.

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