Telangana Sports Minister V. Srinivas Goud said that the athletes in the state can use the stadiums for training purposes from August 5 adhering to the COVID-19 safety guidelines.
This effectively means sports training will now resume across the state in all sports complexes and academies after more than four months since the pandemic brought sporting events to a grinding halt.
“The Government has framed certain guidelines in this regard and we hope the athletes will strictly follow like maintaining social distancing, sanitising the sports equipment and any other objects which they tend to use during training,” the Minister said during an interaction, meant to seek the inputs from the top athletes for framing a new sports policy.
Among those who attended the meeting were former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin, Tennis ace Sania Mirza, Badminton players Sikki Reddy, Sai Praneeth, Sumeeth Reddy, Telangana Olympic Association president and IT Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana Badminton Association vice-president V. Chamundeswaranath, SATS VC and MD K.S. Srinivasa Raju.
The Minister also suggested the officials may put in place a mechanism that would ensure athletes utilising half the capacity for training on alternate days and not train in big groups.
“The whole objective is that no athlete should be hit by the virus,” he stressed.
The Minister, however, stressed no tournaments should be organised till further instructions.
“The State Government is determined to make Hyderabad as the best sports city in the country and for this reason only the Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao appointed a Cabinet sub-committee (headed by the Sports Minister) to draft a new Sports Policy,” he said.
-'Only for Olympic probables'-
Chief national coach P. Gopi Chand said the training will resume initially only for the Olympic probables including P.V.Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa, Chirag Shetty, R. Satwiksairaj Reddy.
“We have to be extremely cautious. It will not be a full-fledged reopening of the Academy. Fortunately, SAI has put in a SOP which is very good and we will work in coordination with the State Government officials in this regard,” he said.
For his part, World championship bronze medallist Praneeth said that it is always better to have even some sort of restricted training than doing nothing.
“We badly needed to train after almost four months. I am honestly quite relieved that I can be back on the court,” he said.
Sania on her part, said: "It's great to know that we are now looking to get back on track as far as sport is concerned but I suspect it will still be a while before we can achieve normalcy."
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