Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has said the government is planning a roadmap for the phased resumption of outdoor training for athletes once the coronavirus-imposed lockdown comes to an end. Also Read - Coronavirus: As Second-Last Day of Lockdown 4.0 Ends, Here's Where The Four Most-Affected States Stand
There are plans to resume national camps at NIS Patiala and SAI Centre in Bengaluru by the end of May. Also Read - Working From Office in Lockdown 5.0? Follow These Guidelines
“A roadmap is being prepared,” Rijiju was quoted as saying by PTI. “If something happens to top athletes it will be a setback and so we are careful and that’s why there are no positive coronavirus cases for our athletes till now. Players are pride of our country and so we can’t risk anything.” Also Read - Lockdown 5.0: No, You Can't do These Activities Till June 30 | Check List
“Medical experts, technical committee are working to start things. We have started preparing, NIS Patiala, Delhi IG stadium, SAI centres, premier sports centres will be opened after lockdown,” he added.
Once the training resumes, however, Olympic-bound athletes will be given the preference while the rest will have to wait at least till September as part of the plan.
“Players request to allow them to play. But everyone can’t be given permission together as it would be risky and so top athletes who have qualified for Olympics or have to go for qualifiers will be given preference,” he said.
He continued, “No need to be sad for other athletes. Federations are requesting and I know how boring it is without sports but this challenge is for everyone and we will have to wait.We are planning in that manner and the road map is ready.”
He also assured that foreign coaches will not be deprived of their salaries and the budding athletes who have been sent home will be called back.
“Foreign coaches are being used in different manners, they are being paid. Nobody should be deprived of salary in these tough situations. The budding players have gone back home and we will call them again, we will do something for the needy ones so that they don’t suffer much,” Rijiju said.
While admitting that sports events will be without fans for some time to come, he called for making them more interesting in the absence of festive atmosphere behind closed doors.
“Not only sports, life has changed. Sports also will come up in a new way. We will have to plan to make sports more interesting without fans. Stadiums in future will not be filled with fans. IPL is rich and get revenue from TV but there are others which need help. We will help those sports and federations,” he said.
“Sports is an industry and a large employment sector. There is going to be losses because of the lockdown but we are taking calculated measures. We have big aims and want India to be among top 10 nations in terms of winning medals,” he added,