The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided to reach out to the athletes to ensure their physical and mental fitness during the lockdown period.

In order to help the sportspersons tackle this unique challenge, the SAI has started an initiative that takes care of the overall well being of the athletes.

“We have started mapping the athletes. The process has begun. First of all, we are getting in touch with the frontline athletes, especially the elite ones including those who are in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). Gradually, we will widen the reach of our initiative,” a top SAI official told Sportstar on Wednesday.

“We are taking care of the physical and mental conditioning of the athletes. For example, in case of the athletes who don’t have access to gym equipment, we are coordinating with the local gyms and getting the portable equipment delivered at an athlete’s home. It will possibly work on a monthly rental basis. It will help the athlete perform weight training and other basic exercises.”

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According to the SAI official, psychologists would get in touch with the athletes to keep them in good mental state in this depressing period of confinement.

“Besides, we have employed nutritionists to look into the sportspersons’ nutritional needs.”

The official said the SAI has been trying to address specific needs of the shooters. “For shooters who have got ranges installed at home, we are trying to provide them with ammunition so that they continue with their training and maintain their focus.

“Overall, effort is being done to keep the athletes in good mental and physical shape so that whenever they return to the camp after the lockdown, they can straightaway start their training without any problems.”

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The initiative should address the concern of several athletes who have been stuck in their homes in remote places or those who have been put up in different SAI centres, including NIS Patiala, without access to training facilities due to lockdown-related restrictions.