SATS-run stadiums, complexes to wait before resuming sporting activities

With increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases in Hyderabad, have apparently forced the senior officials to wait for a few more weeks before starting sporting activities.

Outside view of the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad (Representative image).   -  Nagara Gopal

‘Wait and watch’ seems to be the policy of the top brass of Telangana State Government handling sports with regard to resumption of sporting activity in all the sports complexes and academies run by it.

A combination of factors like funds, coaching staff, coupled with increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases in Hyderabad, have apparently forced the senior officials to wait for a few more weeks before starting sporting activities even after Sports Minister V. Srinivas Goud announced last week that stadia and academies can be reopened after more than four months of lockdown.

And, a couple of  administrators of the stadiums in the city have also told the senior officials at a meeting last week that unless they are provided with sanitisers, thermal guns, oximeters and masks on a large scale to implement the minimum safety guidelines, they are not in a position to start any training.

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“If anything goes wrong, it is we who will be held responsible. So, given the option we would like to wait for a few more weeks before the pandemic subsides to a certain extent,” they said.

“For instance, the entire halls and sports equipment have to be sanitised every day. In athletics, equipment like javelin, discus need to be sanitised at the end of each athlete’s training which also means separate staff to sanitise them,” one of the administrators informed Sportstar.

Another stadium administrator said with none of the National Sports Federations finalising any calendar, there was no need for Sports Authority of Telengana State (SATS) to be in a hurry to reopen the stadiums.

The other worrying factor is that there are only 30 SATS coaches (and 23 of them are on contract basis with meagre salaries) across the State leading to a serious scarcity.

“Yes, we have given a representation to Mr. K.T. Rama Rao, Telangana IT Minister, about the need to regularise the coaches’ services and he was very positive and suggested to the senior officials to resolve this long-pending issue especially in the wake of the pandemic,” said another administrator.