NEW DELHI, March 17: All national camps, except for those where athletes are preparing for Tokyo Olympics, were on Tuesday postponed until further order in view of the COVID-19 pandemic with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) making arrangements for the return of the trainees to their homes.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the academic training at the National Centre of Excellence and Sports Authority of India Centres will also be suspended. The Olympics are scheduled for July-August this year.
�Due to COVID-19, SAI has decided that: All National camps shall be postponed except for those where athletes are being trained as part of Olympics #Tokyo2020 preparation,� Rijiju tweeted.
�Academic training in National Centre of Excellence & STCs shall be suspended till further order,� he added.
Rijiju said the move is temporary and precautionary and training will resume if the situation caused by the pandemic improves.
�This is just a temporary and precautionary step for the safety of our sportspersons. I appeal all our young athletes not to be disheartened. We will resume the academic training soon after assessing the situation.�
Later SAI stated that no tournament, sports function, seminar and workshop will be held till clearance is obtained and restrictions are withdrawn by the central or state authorities.
Hostel facilities of the trainees, however, might be kept open till March 20 to avoid inconvenience to athletes.
�Athletes who have an exam to take in the next few days will be allowed to stay at the centre and take the exam. However, it is being ensured that all health procedures are followed and the highest level of hygiene is maintained so that athletes staying back do not catch an infection,� the SAI said.
�All other trainees are being sent back home after intimation to parents and while following travel precautions. Those who have their home town within 400 kilometres of the centre will be provided AC-3 tier train ticket. Those whose hometowns are beyond 400 kilometres will be provided with an air ticket.�
In India, the shooting World Cup and Indian Open Golf has been postponed so far, while badminton�s India Open was also deferred after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) suspended all World Tour and sanctioned events.
A few days back, the government had issued two advisories regarding training and competition of athletes.
The ministry had told those, who were training and taking part in the events abroad especially for Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, to continue their competitions.
Rijiju had also clarified that there was no ban on national events with the advice that they be held without spectators. � PTI