Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra believes that there’s a high possibility of national championships resuming in the country provided the coronavirus situation in the country doesn’t get worse. Also Read - Coronavirus: Death Toll Nears 20000-mark; Recovery Rate More Than Active Cases | Top Developments
All sports competitions remain suspended in India since March 25 following the lockdown enforced to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Several high profile competitions have either been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Also Read - Unlock 2: Uttar Pradesh Govt Allows Big Events, Gatherings in State With Social Distance Guidelines
Athletes have been unable to practice but last month the Sports Authority of India (SAI) released a comprehensive guideline for them to resume outdoor training. This came after the government allowed the opening of sports complex and stadia for athletes without spectators. Also Read - Coronavirus Symptoms in India: Diarrhea, Headache And Vomiting Could Also be Signs of Deadly COVID-19
“If I’m not wrong we should be seeing national championship, competitions coming up from October provided things don’t go bad,” Batra said in a webinar organised by FICCI.
“That’s the internal strategy for now, depending upon the situation and way things pan out,” he added.
Athletes have been permitted to train at an individual level and need to follow strict social distancing and personal hygiene. However, SAI has barred sparring for contact disciplines.
Batra said contact sports remains a concern and can only resume once a vaccine has been developed.
“Contact sports is still a concern. I’ll be very honest I have no solution for it. In contact sports you sweat a lot, so whether sweat carries that thing or not because they are coming in contact with each other. I don’t know how long this will carry,” he said.
“One thing is for sure, if a vaccination or some treatment is to come, then these things are not to be worried about, but right now we do have some concerns about contact sports like boxing, wrestling. When we have some kind of proven treatment comes for COVID-19 then only relaxations will come in,” he added.
Coaches are keeping a tab on players by monitoring them online with them resuming basic training. However, Batra reckons that the possibility of full training is still two-three months away.
“A lot of things are happening online with coaches monitoring the players. But regardless, if you are doing all this at home, your output will not be more than 40 to 50 percent. So, all athletes when they come back to training now like the ones in Patiala and Bengaluru, they are all starting with a basic load and not a full load,” he said.
He continued, “It is going to be a process spread over two or three months, but again depending upon the situation around the pandemic. Right now, every athlete who has qualified for the Olympics or is in line for the Olympics is in our radar.”