Stepping up to the next phase of ‘Khelo India Phir Se’, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided to resume sporting activities of Tokyo Olympics bound Para-athletes and athletes in SAI’s National Centre of Excellence (NCOEs) across the country, in a phased manner.
In the first Phase, SAI in early June had started the training for only the Olympic bound athletes at various SAI centres, since SAI infrastructure are captive infrastructure and could ensure protection of our national athletes against COVID 19. In the next phase, the resumption of sporting activities for Tokyo Olympics bound para-athletes and athletes in NCOEs (with a focus on 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2022 Asian and Commonwealth Games) has been planned in stages for nine disciplines, including para-athletics, para-powerlifting, para shooting, para archery, cycling, hockey, weightlifting, archery, wrestling, Judo, athletics, boxing and fencing. The same too is being organised only at SAI Regional Centres with residential facilities so as the athletes are not exposed to any dangers of COVID transmission. The decision was taken after detailed deliberation and considering that athletes cannot be put to risk of COVID less than year before Tokyo 2020 (21).
To ensure complete safety of athletes, including following of quarantine protocols, SAI SOP and state Covid SOP, it has been decided that athletes, even those in the same discipline, will be inducted into sporting activities in batches. The first phase of sports resumption is likely to begin on October 5, 2020.
SAI has also directed the Regional Centres to maintain the bio-bubble (Zoning) to ward off any possible chance of transmission of the virus among trainees at the NCOEs. It has therefore been decided that coaches, support staff who would be involved in training of athletes will also be housed in the NCOE so as to maintain the integrity of the bio-bubble for the safety of all athletes.
SAI has also decided to support athletes from sports, where SAI does not have its own captive residential infrastructure, if they train in ‘Play and Stay” kind of training facilities, if the facility administration, the coaches and athletes assume the responsibilities of taking requisite precaution against COVID-19