Udayavni Special

Hoping to see national tournaments resume from October: IOA President Batra

PTI, Jun 4, 2020, 9:57 AM IST

New Delhi: Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra on Wednesday said the governing body hopes to see national championships and tournaments from October, provided the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic “does not go bad”.

Batra also said that the easing of restrictions for contact sports like boxing and wrestling seems unlikely until a treatment for COVID-19 or a vaccine is developed as there is a higher risk of transmission of the virus.

All sporting activities in the country were brought to a grinding halt on 25 March after the central government announced a nationwide lockdown to fight against coronavirus outbreak. The National Games to be held in Goa later this year were also postponed.

However, sportspersons heaved a sigh of relief when the government, on 17 May, permitted the use of stadia and sports complexes without spectators and under strict guidelines, allowing the athletes to return to outdoor training.

Last week, the elite athletes preparing for the Tokyo Games started outdoor training.

“If I’m not wrong we should be seeing national championship, competitions coming up from October provided things don’t go bad,” Batra said in a webinar organized by FICCI.

“That’s the internal strategy for now, depending upon the situation and way things pan out,” he added.

However, the fate of the contact sports is still uncertain as the Sports Authority of India prohibited sparring for contact disciplines.

“Contact sports are still a concern. I’ll be very honest I have no solution for it. In contact sports, you sweat a lot, so whether sweat carries that thing or not because they are coming in contact with each other. I don’t know how long this will carry,” he said.

For contact sports, the SAI SOP only allows individual training without engaging in physical combat with other athletes.

“One thing is for sure, if a vaccination or some treatment is to come, then these things are not to be worried about, but right now we do have some concerns about contact sports like boxing, wrestling. When we have some kind of proven treatment comes for COVID-19 then only relaxations will come in,” he said.

Batra said that it will take athletes two to three months to restart full training as they would have to start from the basics.

“A lot of things are happening online with coaches monitoring the players. But regardless, if you are doing all this at home, your output will not be more than 40 to 50 percent. So, all athletes when they come back to training now like the ones in Patiala and Bengaluru, they are all starting with a basic load and not a full load,” Batra said.

“It is going to be a process spread over two or three months, but again depending upon the situation around the pandemic. Right now, every athlete who has qualified for the Olympics or is in line for the Olympics is in our radar,” he further added.

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