The Indian Olympics Association and representatives of the National Sports Federation has banned international training for Indian athletes who are either already Tokyo-bound or are eyeing a spot at next year’s Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The call was taken keeping into considering the players’ health and safety, as per a report in the Times of India, and the restriction will stay imposed until the end of this year. Also Read - Living in Abject Poverty, Former India Cyclist Working Night Shift As Security Guard With Daughter Battling TB
The decision was taken after the IOA and NSF met through video conferencing on Wednesday, with Dr. Rajesh Rajagopalan representing the Sports Authority of India also being in the loop. During the meeting it was decided that the national camps will resume once the lockdown is lifted and athletes can begin training once normalcy is restored. Also Read - National Competitions Should Resume From October, no Contact Sport Till There's a Vaccine: Narinder Batra
As per TOI, the call was taken on the basis of the following points – ‘Tokyo Olympics has been postponed for next year’s July-August; mostly all remaining Olympic qualifiers in different disciplines have been rescheduled for January 2021 start; most of the international federations (IFs) don’t have any competitions lined up till end of the year; most big-ticket events like World Cup or World Championships have been rescheduled for 2021 or 2022 and both the domestic and international calendar is in a shutdown mode and such a situation is likely to continue till end of the year.’ Also Read - Final Decision on Tokyo Olympics Won't be Made in October, Says Games CEO Toshiro Muto
“All NSFs agreed that we need to be extra cautious. Like in the case of shooting, shooters generally like to train in Italy and Germany and these are among the worst-affected countries. You never know what is in store even after things become normal there. We can’t risk our shooters,” an official from the National Rifle Association of India, said.
“All Olympic-bound shooters will train at the Karni Singh shooting range once the national camp resumes. Same was agreed upon by other NSFs that their athletes will continue training in India for the remaining part of the year.”
Some NSF representatives also suggested conducting COVID-19 tests on athletes, coaches and support staff.
“Rapid testing will be carried out on each single individual and only after reports show them negative, will they be allowed in the camp. Once in the camp, the athletes and support staff will not be allowed to leave it midway at any cost,” another federation official informed.