Clarity cry follows resumption indication
Tokyo Olympic-bound Indian athletes may have something to cheer about as staggered resumption of halted training camps seem to be a possibility now, after the ministry of home affairs issued new guidelines for “Lockdown 4” on Sunday.
“Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open, however, spectators won’t be allowed,” read one of the guidelines to be followed during the lockdown, which has been extended till May 31.
However, Adille Sumariwalla, the Athletics Association of India (AFI) president told The Telegraph: “We have asked for clarity since there is no mention of whether training would be allowed. The permission to open sports complexes and stadia do not mean training can start. We have spoken to the sports ministry and a clearer picture would emerge soon.
“May be a jogging or a bit of running, like we do in the parks under normal circumstances, could be allowed. Anyway when training starts strict protocols will be followed as the athletes’ safety is of paramount importance.”
National weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma when contacted in Patiala said: “I have read the guidelines but as of now we have no information whether we can start training from Monday.” Weightlifting Federation of India top official Sahdev Yadav also spoke on the same lines. “I am not sure about resumption of training,” he said.
“Return to training is the only implication of this guideline,” another official said.
The lockdown came into effect from mid-March and Tokyo Olympics-bound elite athletes, who are based at Sports Authority of India (SAI) complexes in Patiala and Bangalore, have been demanding resumption of training for the past couple of weeks.
Two weeks back, one national coach speaking to this paper had feared that athletes cooped up in their rooms could lose the urge to perform. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) also apprehended that prolonged absence could lead to lack of motivation.
Last week, sports minister Kiren Rijiju held a series of video conferences to take the athletes’ view.
Meanwhile, IOA president Narinder Batra requested for a one-time financial help of approximately Rs 220 crore for various sports governing bodies.