In a major relief to all national and international sportspersons, the state government has given permission for all sports complex and stadia to be opened for practice provided the government guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures are followed for each discipline.

In the Government Order (GO) issued late on Friday, it said sports complex and stadia, both run by SDAT and “non-SDAT centres” can be opened for practice.

The GO highlighted that sportspersons who are above 50 years of age and less than 15 years cannot train. However, the GO insisted that gym/fitness centres and swimming pools will not be opened until further orders.

In other water sports, canoeing, sailing and rowing centres have been allowed. While the earlier GOs suggested the SDAT-run (open-air) complexes could be used only for fitness purposes — there were exceptions — this time, the SDAT has opened all its centres —indoor and outdoor for almost all sporting disciplines across the state.

“Depending on the seriousness of the pandemic in a particular district, the District Collector, as was the case earlier, will have the final say in allowing sports centres to open,” an official said.

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Olympian V. Baskaran, President of Chennai Hockey Association (CHA), said it would be great to see hockey back after a gap of more than four months. "Somewhere, we have to start. Slowly, we can push for disciplined hockey. It will be a slow and gradual process till August. CHA will think of starting a league and approach SDAT once the pandemic subsides.”

"It will be great to get back to the table and play with a human instead of a robot. I want to get back to shape and be in peak fitness when the Polish league begins in September," International table tennis player G. Sathiyan said.

Sharath Kamal, India's top paddler, said he would wait for a week, get a hang of all the procedures and then think about going to Hall of TT, Nehru Stadium, to train.

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T. Chandrasekaran, Secretary of Tamil Nadu State Aquatic Association, said he was still hopeful that state government will consider the association's demands and open the pools in the near-future. “We [myself and R.N. Jayaprakash, President of Swimming Federation of India) had recently met and given a representation to Atulya Misra, head of Revenue & Disaster Management Act and Dheeraj Kumar, Principal Secretary, Government of TN and they had assured us all support. We believe we will get a favourable decision in around 10 days.”