The postponement of Tokyo Olympics by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the plans and preparations of sports federations and athletes alike. Also Read - Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Is One Of Biggest Donors In Covid Relief Response; Other Firms Join Too
Additionally, few Indian sporting federations and non-profit organisation like Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) are expecting less contributions from the corporate sectors to fund their training programmes for athletes. Also Read - 14-Day Lockdown Begins in Karnataka. Strict Restrictions on Public Movement Till May 24 | Here's What You Should Know
“As far as funding is concerned, we raise our resources only from donations,” OGQ CEO Viren Rasquinha told The Times of India. “These donations come from corporate CSR, family foundations and individual donors.” Also Read - US Shooting: Man Kills 6 Then Shoots Self at Colorado Birthday Party
“… the road ahead this year will be difficult. We all know that. Companies making less profit will make less CSR contributions. Quite expectedly, donations will be directed towards health care and feeding the hungry, and that’s how it should be. But I would like to repeat, we raise donations for the long term, so we are ready to battle it out,” he added.
Several athletes and para-athletes supported by OGQ had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Rasquinha thinks that a year’s delay means the preparations will have to start from scratch now.
“In terms of preparedness, it’s the same for athletes from all over the world,” the former India hockey captain said. “Most of our athletes were in very good shape physically and mentally before the lockdown. But now we are very, very disappointed because all form, confidence, momentum, everything goes to zero.”.
He continued, “It will become a level playing field from here, but athletes will lose so much fitness, so much momentum and start from scratch all over again. It’s impossible to predict what will happen at the Olympics in July 2021.”
The highly contagious coronavirus has led to social distancing becoming a new normal and it’s being planned that sporting events once the situation improves will be held in empty stadiums.
“Of course, things will change in every facet of life, not just in sport,” he said. “Sport is an industry and I expect a lot of things to change, be it social distancing, playing in front of empty stadiums. It will be hard on athletes since the greatest motivation for them is to win the appreciation of fans. But health and safety come before everything else. So sport should resume only when things improve significantly.”