The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), created for conducting sports activities as they resume in the aftermath of Covid pandemic, went for a toss as several officials were seen violating the rules on the opening day of the National Junior Athletics Championships in Guwahati on Saturday.
Officials at the throwing arena of Indira Gandhi Stadium did not wear masks and did not maintain social distancing as was evident on live streaming of the events on the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) website.
Coaches and officials accompanying athletes were seen crowding the area where prize distribution ceremony was held.
Wearing masks and maintaining social distance are among the guidelines issued by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and AFI in the SOP for resuming sports activities during pandemic.
Ashok Kumar, secretary of the Assam Athletics Association (AAA) admitted to teething problems on the opening day, though he said everyone was happy to compete as after more than 12 months.
Meanwhile, accommodation is becoming costlier in Guwahati as coaches and athletes from across the country are still arriving in the Assam capital.
"It's good that we had booked our hotel prior to reaching here. Otherwise we might have end up paying more, like some others are finding it out now. Since the competition has started it's a bit difficult to get good accommodation for Rs.1,000," a coach told IANS from Guwahati.
Although the athletes were told to make their own arrangements for drinking water, the organising committee provide some water in the warm-up area. "We can get water bottle only. There is no water cooler or common area to get water from. This is apparently being done to avoid spread of virus," said one of the athletes.