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SOPs for training released, swimming still barred

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To get sports back on the track across the country, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has released Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) to resume training programmes in all sporting disciplines, after the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports allowed the opening up of sports complexes and stadia in SAI training centres.  Sports Authority of India has divided sports into four categories —non-contact, medium contact, full contact, and water — and laid down a different set of precautions for each category.

The six-member committee which was headed by Rohit Bharadwaj, Secretary, Sports Authority of India, formulated the SOP. Moreover, the SOP will apply to all athletes, technical and non-technical staff involved in training, irrespective of the organization they represent, all administrative staff at the training centre, all hostel and facility management staff, and visitors at all the centres. The SOP has further made the government’s Arogya Setu app compulsory for all the athletes, coaches, and staff.

“The SOP will come into effect immediately, but the logistics to implement it may take some time,” said Rohit Bharadwaj, Secretary of Sports Authority of India. A COVID Task Force will further be assigned at every SAI centre that will be in charge of monitoring and guiding all trainees and staff at the centres. All training at different SAI centres across the country had been earlier suspended in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus.

The SOP also makes it compulsory for the athletes and other stakeholders to fill the consent forms and undertakings, acknowledging the risk of the transmission of the Covid-19. The SOP also lays out DOs and Don’ts for athletes, coaches, support staff, administrative staff, and medical staff during training. While sports like athletics, hockey, badminton, boxing, and shooting were among the 11 disciplines which were permitted to resume outdoor training, swimming activities remain prohibited for now.

Moreover, regular check-ups of the athletes, and maintaining their sickness data has been made mandatory. Although the SOP under the motto “Khelo India Phirse Khelo” is out, the authorities have kept mum about the dates when the training activities will restart.

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