Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju gives nod to resumption of training

The Sports Ministry on Monday gave its go ahead to the resumption of training in all sports complexes and stadia with immediate effect after the government eased restrictions for the fourth phase of the coronavirus-forced lockdown. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said activities can now be conducted in all sports complexes and stadia, including those managed by private players, but only in accordance with the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines. "I'm happy to inform sportspersons and all concerned that sports activities will be conducted in sports complexes and stadia strictly in accordance with MHA guidelines and that of the States in which they are situated," Rijiju tweeted.

"However, use of gyms and swimming pools are still prohibited," he added. According to ministry sources, sporting activities can resume in facilities and academies across the country, including those managed by private entities like TransStadia and JSW Group. "Sporting activities can now start across the country, including in private facilities and those managed by states but in complete adherence to MHA guidelines," the source told PTI. "There is no time frame on when to start. It entirely depends on individual players and National Sports Federations (NSFs). For example, our hockey teams are based in SAI Bengaluru since the start of lockdown, so if Hockey India wants to start onfield training from tomorrow, they can do so," he said. The source, however, said that sportspersons joining the national camps or SAI centres afresh will have to go through medical checkups and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

"Not just SAI facilities, all private facilities and academies will have to ensure medical check ups of those wanting to resume training." India has recorded over 90,000 COVID-19 cases so far with over 3000 deaths. In the guidelines for the fourth lockdown, sport continued to be listed alongside the functions, gatherings and large congregations which were not allowed. The only big-ticket event that was to happen in India at this time was the Indian Premier League, which was postponed indefinitely in April due to the health crisis. The lockdown originally came into effect in mid-March and the Tokyo Olympics-bound elite athletes, who are based at SAI complexes in Patiala and Bengaluru, have been demanding resumption of training for the past couple of weeks. The Olympics has been postponed to 2021 owing to the deadly pandemic.

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